Referring to recent Articles on the “Government Authorizes Development in Bokor Park”, Cambodia Daily, Monday, I am deeply concern about natural resource management and environmental protection in Cambodia, once there will be development of palm oil and cassava plantations and livestock farms within the Bokor National Park. These development activities will affect both beauty and quality of land and the environment as well as the national resource over there.
I visited Bokor National Park once and I found this place is a rich natural sightseeing and one of the most attractive tourist destinations regardless its infrastructure is yet improved. It was my first time in my life to see dark forest covered by huge trees and diversified natural combination. I was expecting that this wonderful Bokor National Park would be preserved and included in the government agenda for tourist attraction as Angkor Wat Temple or Sihanouk Ville. Yet, the recent authorization of the government over the commercial plantations to a private company makes this expectation uncertain and doubt the future of Bokor beauty which can contribute much to national income through its tourist zone.
In fact, I strongly support the government plans for country development and recognize the effort of the government in promoting investments for economic growth. However, such development should precede legal means and long-term national interests as stated in article 8 of the 1996 Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resource Management, which reads: “The natural resources of the Kingdom of Cambodia, which include land, water, airspace, air [ …] shall be conserved, developed, and managed and used in a rational and sustainable manner”. I therefore would like to appeal to the government to reinforce this law and ensure that any development projects would not harm to our natural resources.