US-Cambodia tensions grow as USAID cuts forest protection project

The U.S. announced on Thursday it would prematurely end its flagship $21 million forest protection program in Cambodia.

In a statement, the embassy in the Southeast Asian nation said the USAID agency would stop funding the Greening Prey Lang project because Cambodia’s government was not doing enough to stop deforestation in protected areas. Instead, the situation was “getting worse,” the embassy said.

Prey Lang, the largest contiguous area of lowland dry evergreen and semievergreen forest left in mainland Southeast Asia, has lost 38,000 hectares of forest — nearly 9% — since 2016, the embassy noted.

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