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Cambodia creates a roadmap that enhances forest governance


4 February 2019, Phnom Penh: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and The European Union (EU) congratulated the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) on its active engagement in various reforms and initiatives to improve forest governance and combat the illegal trade in timber.

"Improved forest governance is a much needed action, because it is the fundamental way to tackle deforestation or tree cutting that is happening illegally – preventing governments, communities, and the global community from obtaining the social, environmental and economic benefits they would have received from a sustainably managed forest," said Mr Alexandre Huynh, Representative of FAO in Cambodia.

Forest governance is at the forefront of the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme, an initiative that aims to provide technical and financial support to organizations to implement locally-defined solutions towards improved forest governance.

The programme will focus on building systems to ensure that illegally harvested timber does not enter EU markets, while creating enabling environments for legal timber production and trade.  

"Forests have a vital role to play in terms of climate change mitigation, of biodiversity, of water and soil management, and as an economic asset.  If properly managed, forests can contribute significantly to poverty reduction and long-term economic development.  As one of Cambodia's main development partners, we are glad to support the Royal Government in improving forest governance and combatting the illegal trade in timber," said Mr George Edgar, Ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia.

H.E Ung Sam Ath, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), said that MAFF has collaborated with the EU in strengthening capacity of forestry officials in implementing related forestry laws, good governance, and managing flow of timber within the country in addition to cooperative efforts with other partners in forestry reforms.

He further mentioned that, "Cambodia has forestry law and other relevant regulatory frameworks, which serve as supporting documents for future development of the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA)." 

The FLEGT VPA is a bilateral trade agreement between the EU and a timber-exporting country, aiming at ensuring timber exported to the EU comes from legal sources, and helping the partner country stop illegal logging by improving forest governance and regulation.

To raise awareness on the FLEGT action plan, the Forest Administration (FA) of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), with support from the FAO- EU FLEGT programme recently mobilized more than 80 individuals, including key relevant government stakeholders, private sector and forest community representatives in Phnom Penh to identify priorities areas for a FLEGT Roadmap that will help Cambodia to improve its forest law enforcement, governance and legal timber trade.  

Experience shows that a legal framework allows small-and medium sized enterprises to access the global trade in tropical timber – worth USD 31.1 billion in 2016 (FAO, 2018). 

However, such social, economic and environmental benefits could not be attained without necessary policies and law enforcement to promote the legal timber trade.

H.E Keo Omaliss, Director General of the Forestry Administration (FA) said that the introduction of a FLEGT Roadmap to Cambodia comes at the right time. FA and MAFF are trying to find key factors, contributing to tackling barriers and finding solutions that support both communities and the private sector.


For media inquiries please kindly contact Ms. Tet Chann, Communication Officer, UNFAO in Cambodia,

Tel: 011 276 775, Email: chann.tet@fao.org 

 Note to editor:

FLEGT is an initiative that the EU developed in response to global concerns about the negative impacts of illegal logging and timber trade. FLEGT aims to reduce illegal logging by strengthening the legality of forest management, improving forest governance and promoting trade in legally produced timber. 

The FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme works to help implement the European Union’s FLEGT Action Plan to combat illegal logging and associated trade. The programme provides technical and financial support to governments, civil society and private sector organisations to enact locally-defined solutions to improve forest governance and create an enabling environment for legal timber production.

European Union’s FLEGT Action Plan: The EU published the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan in 2003. The Action Plan sets out a range of measures available to the EU and its member states to tackle illegal logging in the world's forests. For more information, please visit: http://www.euflegt.efi.int/flegt-action-plan

FLEGT has been embraced in dozens of countries all over the world in the past 15 years.

Cambodia was selected as the latest country in Asia to receive FLEGT funding from the EU, based on the socio-economic and environmental significance of Cambodia's forests. It offers an opportunity to show that Cambodia has the ability to produce legal timber and control the flow of illegal timber to neighboring countries. This would not only allow Cambodia to align itself with similar efforts in other Mekong countries like in Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam, it could also bolster Cambodia’s economy by gaining access to better and more rewarding markets for legal timber products. It should ultimately help Cambodia to help itself and to significantly benefit from improved forest governance.  The programme will be implemented by FAO.