Press conference 8.2.16

February 23, 2016 | Posted in: News

SUMMARY OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE PREY LANG COMMUNITY NETWORK, Phnom Penh, 8. Feb. 2016Press conference 1

Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) held a well visited press conference in Meta House, Phnom Penh on the February 8. 2016. Many people from the press were present at the press conference, as well as leading members of the PLCN. There were at least 3-4 television stations present and several Cambodian newspapers.

The objectives of the press conference were:

  1. to present the third monitoring report concerning the situation of the Prey Lang forest
  2. to present the results of the “big patrol” which took place in Prey Lang area from 1 to 5 February.
  3. to release and publish a petition to the Cambodian Government about the need to cooperate with NGO’s in stopping illegal logging.

The report is the third in row presenting data from the unique initiative taking place in the Prey Lang forest, where local people are documenting activities, resources – including illegal logging – and activities. This is done with the help of smartphones and an application developed exclusively for this purpose. The data is collected in a database and the findings then published regularly in monitoring reports.Press conference 5

About the monitoring report:

The most important findings of the report were presented: illegal logging is continuing, albeit the methods seem to be changing. The trend seems to be that local contractors are carrying out the logging and then selling the wood to timber companies. There also seems to be increasing effort on behalf of the timber companies to buy off resin trees from the owners among the local population. The percentage of valid registrations in the database is rising, and illegal logging, registered as stumps of luxury trees are still by far the most common registration. In the category “Resources” resin trees are the most common registration. The application used for registration in the field was shortly demonstrated.

About the results of the “big patrol”:
Two pieces of firearms (air guns) were confiscated being of some concern – it may become more dangerous to do forest patrol.
19 chainsaws were confiscated
159 stumps were registered
75 cubic meters of planks of luxury wood were registered
283 hectares of cleared land was registered

About the Petition to the Government:
The petition for the Government of Cambodia was released, urging the Government and its agencies to cooperate with PLCN among other civil society organisations.
The formation of the task force on illegal logging last month by the Government was praised, but the task force must come into the forest and actively prevent illegal logging instead of only inspecting warehouses for timber. Moreover, the task force only covers two of the four provinces, where the Prey Lang forest is situated.

Press conference 4

After the presentations the audience posed a lot of questions about the situation in Prey Lang, which were answered by the representatives of the PLCN. Questions were regarding the presence of firearms among illegal loggers, the limited cooperation with the Government and its agencies, the perspectives of cooperating with local authorities, the Economic Land Concessions being granted and many other subjects.