Environment Ministry Proposal Scrapped

The Council of Ministers on Friday scrapped a subdecree to create a national committee to monitor unregulated logging.

Instead, the environment minister said Prime Minister Hun Sen recommended the Ministry of Environment be given broad power to combat illegal logging.

“We proposed to pass the subdecree but the Prime Minister said it wasn’t so serious and left the Ministry of Environment to do its work,” Mok Mareth said after the meeting. “It will be easier for us to work without any interference.”

The ministry will be in charge of monitoring and examining logging activities and filing complaints for those who abuse forestry regulations, he said. However, the minister cautioned that his ministry will need cooperation from other relevant ministries to enforce the order.

The subdecree proposed in-cluded lightly arming a hundred rangers to conduct monitoring. At present, Mok Mareth said forestry officials are in charge of monitoring logging activities.

A draft law on how to manage forests and institute punishments for illegal loggers may be completed and submitted next week before a key donors meeting in Tokyo on Feb 25 and 26, Penn Thol, a government spokesman, said after the meeting.

“The prime minister can bring this forestry draft law for the Consultative Group…in order to show how serious the government wants to control logging,” he said, adding, “The draft law on forestry is not only to satisfy the donors but because we care about our environment.”


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