Forestry Plan Missing Some Documents

Several forest management plans the World Bank agreed to make public on Monday on be­half of the government’s forestry department were still missing from the Bank’s public information center Friday.

Superwood, Samling, Yurey Saco and Kingwood reports or environmental impact statements were missing, in either Khmer or English versions, from the center. All copies at the center were in black-and-white, making color-coded maps unreadable.

Monday marked the beginning of a 19-day public review period for the plans, in which logging companies suggest how logging can occur sustainably for the next 25 years.

Andrew Cock of NGO Forum, which advocates for villagers living in or near logging areas, said his organization was frantically making copies of the plans for distribution to the provinces. “It’s crazy. How can you do it without enough time and without the documents?” Cock asked.

Leafing through the plans at World Bank Cambodia headquarters Friday, Global Witness Director Eva Galabru said some of the plans’ covers don’t match the contents. “Nobody really knows what is there,” she said.

Meanwhile, a Global Witness statement slammed the reports as fraudulent. “Global Witness was leaked several plans and [environmental impact reports] in advance of the official release date,” the statement released Friday said. “Early indications are that forest cover has been grossly overestimated, information has been invented and figures fixed. In some cases data has simply been copied from one plan to another and in others it is evident that community consultation, upon which the [environmental reports] should be based, has not taken place.”

Government approval of the plans is the first step towards ending a logging suspension that began in January. Villagers who came to Phnom Penh this week to pick up plan copies said some of the areas reserved for community use in the plans were fields, or had already been logged.

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