Global Witness soon will be working within the system as the newly-appointed independent monitor of Cambodia’s forestry sector.
As expected, the environmental watchdog was tapped this week to be part of a new forest crime monitoring program.
The unit will consist of inspection teams from the Forestry Department and the Ministry of Environment. Global Witness will oversee their work and report to the Council of Ministers.
Britain and Aus Aid are funding the first year of a projected $2 million, three-year program.
Patrick Alley of Global Witness said Thursday that donors earlier this year identified the program’s need to monitor the government’s forestry reforms. He also said the International Monetary Fund made the program a condition to re-engaging in Cambodia.
Alley said that while some may view Global Witness as compromising, he assured the group would continue its work as an environmental advocate. Alley also expressed confidence that the government and donors will take its reports seriously.
If Global Witness were to believe the program had turned into a farce, “then we’d walk away,” Alley said.
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