Global Witness regrets the necessity that led the IMF and the World Bank to indefinitely suspend support for Cambodia, but believes the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) only have themselves to blame. "The RGC are condemning this move has an ill perceived political decision but they've missed the point. They failed to live up to their pledges on forestry reform, transparency etc at the 1996 and 1997 Consultative Group meetings and the lead donors have finally sat on them, and they don't like it," said Global Witness' Patrick Alley.
Global Witness condemns the statements by the RGC that mass deforestation will result from the aid cut off. "It is difficult to see how they could cut down trees any faster than they were anyway, that is why the aid has been cut." said Simon Taylor of Global Witness. "Why they think that cutting down more trees now will help the country beats me, because it is extremely unlikely that the revenue will ever get anywhere near the public sector."
Global Witness urges the RGC to adhere to their pledges to reform the forestry sector. If they abide by their own legislation, combat corruption, give full support to the World Bank Technical Assistance projects and ensure that resultant revenues reach the treasury then support will almost certainly be restored. This scenario will benefit Cambodia and its people and is no more than the RGC has promised it will do for the past two years. The alternative is to explain to the Cambodian people in tens years or so not only why the country is even poorer than it is now, but why the country's ecology and agriculture has been devastated.
Global Witness noted in early September that illegal logging has been escalating in Mondul Kiri, Kratie and Kompong Thom.
Press Release / March 8, 1997