PHNOM PENH, 02 December 2019 - Fuelwood including firewood and charcoal is increasingly demanded in Cambodia. About 0.8 million tons of firewood is used in the garment and brick-making industry and 1.8 million tons for household cooking while 3.5 million tons of charcoal is used for cooking in households and restaurants. However, this growing demand for fuelwood is mounting pressures on existing forests.
The annual consumption of fuelwood has now reached about 6 million tons, equivalent to the annual loss of 71,600 hectares of deciduous forests. This is an alarming concern that needs to be addressed not only for the sake of the sustainability of forests but also the human wellbeing.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has partnered with the Group for Environment, Renewable Energies and Solidarity (Geres), the Regional Community Forestry Training Center (RECOFTC) and Okoone to develop an innovative digital platform for the Royal Government of Cambodia to promote sustainable production and consumption of charcoal. The platform provides a traceability system which captures the traceability of charcoal production, logistics and sales management in selected communities. It also features an e-commerce function to improve efficiency in the entire value chain of charcoal, reduce transaction costs, and make sustainable charcoal more accessible to consumers. Under the leadership of the Forestry Administration (FA), this digital platform was successfully piloted in Pursat province.
Speaking at the launch of this digital platform, H.E. Dr. Keo Omaliss, FA Director General said “this pilot project is contributing to the expected achievement of our draft Production Forest Strategic Plan (NFSP), Agricultural Master Plan, and Cambodian Sustainable Development Goals (CSDGs). Based on this successful experience, the FA in partnership with Geres is scaling up this effort in two provinces (Pursat and Kampong Chhnang). Good practices and lessons learnt will be used to inform the national government to improve policy promoting sustainable fuel wood production and consumptions in the future.”
“This new digital platform can help promote sustainable production and consumption of fuelwood and promote sustainable community forest management. The event today provides an opportunity to learn about the new platform. This is also an opportunity for every participant to share insights, and to engage in the next phase,” said Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative.
The digital platform is ready to be implemented in the market. Both fuelwood regulators and consumers could ensure their greener consumption of charcoal if they use the e-commerce platform to purchase it. Last but not least, it seeks the support to scale up this platform with other communities in the country as well to support sustainable production and consumption of fuelwood while supporting local economy and forest management in Cambodia.
For more information and media interview, please contact Samruol IM, Communications Analyst at UNDP Cambodia through firstname.lastname@example.org.