The government’s Forestry Administration is scheduled to hold a regional public consultation in Pursat province Thursday on a new draft national framework for protecting Cambodia’s forests, officials said.
The discussion would involve 160 people who work in forestry-related fields from Phnom Penh as well as Kandal, Kompong Speu, Kompong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces, according to a Forestry Administration statement.
Forestry Administration Director-General Ty Sokhun said by telephone Monday that population growth has put pressure on Cambodia’s forest cover, but that the government still hopes to increase overall forest cover from the 2006 amount of 10.8 million to 11 million hectares by 2015.
Ty Sokhun added that one of the key elements of a new national forestry framework would be to preserve forestland as a means to sell carbon credits to more industrialized nations.
Forests act as carbon wells, draining carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Companies can purchase carbon credits on the international market to offset excess carbon dioxide that they produce.
Ty Sokhun said however, that with regard to Cambodia getting involved with carbon credits trading, “the process is complicated and in the long term.”
Kim Chantha, a coordinator for the Forestry Administration in Pursat province, said Tuesday that NGOs, community forestry workers, monks and local authorities were invited to Thursday’s meeting to comment on how to protect the forests.
However, Pursat’s coordinator for local rights group Adhoc, Ngeth Theavy, and a community forestry leader, Kuch Veng, said Tuesday that they were not invited to join. “If they take the national workplan to discuss with two to three people, it will not be transparent and effective,” Kuch Veng said.