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Cambodian Environment Minister Calls for Collective Action to Protect Natural Resources

Phnom Penh, March 27, 2024 – Dr. Eang Sophalleth, Cambodia's Minister of Environment, has issued a strong call for unified efforts to preserve the country's natural resources for the well-being of future generations.

During a recent meeting focused on combating illegal logging within protected areas and assessing reforestation efforts in Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary in Pursat province, Dr. Sophalleth highlighted the crucial role of coordinated action in environmental conservation. He expressed appreciation for the dedicated efforts of the coalition forces tasked with preventing crimes against natural resources, emphasizing the mission's significance as a collective responsibility.

The Minister pointed out the substantial challenges faced by the Ministry of Environment in safeguarding Cambodia's extensive protected areas. With just 1,200 rangers responsible for over 7.2 million hectares, which represent about 40% of the country's land territory, the task is daunting.

Dr. Sophalleth underscored the importance of adhering to the directives laid out by Prime Minister Hun Manet, which include the full enforcement of environmental laws, an end to leniency towards offenders, and stronger cooperation with local authorities, the Royal Gendarmerie, and the Anti-Corruption Unit.

Further, he advocated for the promotion of reforestation and fruit tree planting as strategies to expand forest coverage to more than 60% by 2050. This approach not only aims to protect natural resources but also to foster local economic development, in alignment with the government's Circular Strategy on Environment and the Pentagonal Strategy, Phase I.

The Minister's appeal underscores the urgent need for collective action in safeguarding Cambodia's natural heritage, ensuring that the beauty and diversity of the country's ecosystems can be enjoyed by generations to come.

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