Development on Cambodia's Coast in Ream National Park

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Development on Cambodia's Coast in Ream National Park

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Fri May 24, 2019 11:58 am

May 24, 2019
Development challenges in Ream National Park
Environment Ministry officials say there are three major investment companies operating in the area. They are tycoon Kith Meng’s Royal group, tycoon Hun To’s Evergreen Success and Asia Resort Development Company, and the Chinese-owned Yee Jia’s Tourism Development company.

According to a 2008 sub-decree, Evergreen Success and Asia Resort Development were given 2,377 hectares to develop tourism projects within the park.

A 2008 directive letter from the Council of Ministers to the Environment Ministry allocated 1,681 hectares to the Royal Group also for tourism development.Yee Jia’s Tourism Development was also granted 3,300 hectares in 2008 for tourism development.

The 2008 directive letter says that the Environment Ministry and the companies must provide a clear master plan for development and conservation areas within their respective development areas.

“The companies must sign a contract on environment protection with the Environment Ministry and implement it in accordance with existing laws,” Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn, who was then a secretary of state with the Council of Ministers, said in the document.

Environment Minister Say Sam Al said at the time that the companies were given time to improve.

“We gave them six months to correct their master plan, and then we will re-evaluate those companies,” he said.

In 2015, Mr Sam Al said the ministry was willing to revoke concessions for companies who do not comply with the law, or fail to keep their obligations.

Prior to his comments, at least three land concessions within the province were already revoked by the government, including one within the park belonging to Hong Kong Research Investment and Development Consulting Group.

A local environment official working in the park says the three companies remaining are now the only ones with concessions within the park, but noted their leases were cut in half in 2015.

“We have cooperated with joint-provincial forces to try and prevent what you see here,” the local environment official says, pointing to a cleared section of forest while noting that the clearing was done by the Evergreen Company which planned to build a five-star hotel.

“For this area, we have already submitted a report for our superiors to check,” he adds. “We have been trying to prevent this clearing for some time – this area used to be full of trees.”

The environment official, who asked to remain anonymous because he is not allowed to speak to the media, says encroachment on protected land began recently following a boom in land prices, noting that powerful people are behind the crimes. ... onal-park/
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