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PM Orders Six Provinces Around Tonle Sap Lake to Increase Deforestation Prevention Efforts

PHNOM PENH: Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the six provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake to increase efforts on the prevention of deforestation and encroachment on flooded forest land, four months after the launch of a campaign to reclaim land from invaders.

The Prime Minister made this order during the closing ceremony of the 2021 work review meeting of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Wednesday, 23 March.

Directly addressing the governors of the provinces around the lake, he said, "What do you do as the governor of the province around the Tonle Sap Lake? Why did you allow people to continue cutting down trees in the flooded forest?"

He added that the three ministries in charge of the flooded forest — the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ministry of Environment — must immediately confiscate the land that people have encroached on and take legal action against these perpetrators, in order to protect the lake for the common good of the nation.

It should be noted that until 10 March 2022, people living in six provinces around Tonle Sap Lake voluntarily returned a total of 63,190.80 hectares of land to the state, for 15,002 families. Upon measurement, it was found that the returned land actually amounted to a total of 87,042.45 hectares, which can accommodate up to 8,860 families and 10,837 plots of individual land.

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