Your Excellency Dr. Keo Omaliss, Director General of the Forestry Administration, of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Excellencies, development partners, distinguished guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.
Good morning. It is my pleasure to join this Launching Event for Sustainable Charcoal Production Digital Platform and to welcome all who are here today.
I would like to congratulate the Forestry Administration for the successful launch of the digital platform for promoting sustainable charcoal production. I would also like to thank our partners GERES, RECOFTC and Okoone who played pivotal roles in designing and testing this platform to become operational.
First of all, I would like to highlight the significance of this platform in promoting sustainable charcoal production and improving the livelihoods of communities who depend on charcoal production for income generation.
Last month, UNDP launched our human development report titled “sustaining natural resources for all”. This report provides sustainable options for using and managing forest resources including woodfuel.
Woodfuel consists of firewood and charcoal. According to our report, in Cambodia, woodfuel plays an important role in supporting rural communities as well as various industries and businesses. For example, more than 80 % of rural households rely on firewood or charcoal for daily cooking. Firewood is also used for garment and brick-making industries to generate energy. In addition, a large volume of firewood is converted into charcoal to be used for cooking at households or restaurant businesses.
According to GERES, the growing demand for woodfuel has added mounting pressure on existing forests. Most of woodfuel is sourced from unsustainable origins. The total annual consumption of woodfuel now amounts to more than 6 million ton. This is equivalent to an annual loss of over 71,600 hectares of deciduous forests.
To ensure the sustainability of forests as well as long-term well-being of rural communities depending on forests, our report recommended several measures to promote a sustainable model of production and consumption of woodfuel
One of the recommendations is to introduce a digital platform of sustainable charcoal.
This digital platform builds on an e-commerce approach, to improve efficiency in the entire value chains, to reduce transaction costs, and to make sustainable charcoal more attractive and convenient to consumers. It introduces a mobile app for consumers/restaurants to be able to order sustainable charcoals to be delivered at their convenience. The platform also has the traceability system to ensure sustainability of the entire value chain.
In collaboration with the Forestry Administration, UNDP Cambodia has worked together with GERES, RECOFTC and Okoone, in developing and testing this new approach. This pilot work started with five selected community forests in Pursat province.
After more than one year of continued effort to build this platform, we are pleased to be here today at the launching event to demonstrate how this new model may work, and how it can contribute towards sustainable forest management supported by communities in the country.
I would like to take the opportunity to sincerely thank our government partners, specifically the Forestry Administration, GERES, RECOFTC, Okoone and all partners for their participation and committed efforts in making today’s event a success. I also hope that this event will provide an opportunity for every participant to share insights, and to engage in the next phase of the digital platform.
Today, I would like to reaffirm our strong commitment to continue supporting the Forestry Administration in implementing the national production forest strategy as a crucial policy instrument to sustain the nation’s vital forest resources for today and future.
I wish you a successful launching event. Thank you.