Forestry Director Ty Sokhun said last week that new forest-management standards for commercial logging companies will be developed within the next three months.
Ty Sokhun said an Asian Development Bank-funded team, which has been reviewing concessionaire performance, has agreed to assist the government in developing the standards.
“We have to have milestones to measure the action” by the forestry companies, he said.
The ADB-funded team also is scheduled to finish its report this week and send a copy to the Council of Ministers, Ty Sokhun said. An ADB official confirmed Friday that the report will be finished this week.
The team’s draft report described the current concession system as “total system failure” and recommended the termination of three concessions, a moratorium on eight others and the renegotiation of all concession contracts.
An expert panel brought in by the ADB team, however, called instead for the immediate development of tough new forest-management standards and the cancellation of concessionaires who don’t meet those standards within a reasonable time.
In its preliminary recommendations, the expert panel also called for all military units to be removed from the commercial logging areas.
Currently, more than 20 concessions cover 4.6 million hectares of Cambodia’s 10.5 million hectares of forestland.
The ADB-funded team has blamed previous rampant illegal logging on a variety of players, including the military, the police, government officials, concessionaires and other private business interests in Cambodia and across its borders.