Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prestigious prize awarded to local forest activist

Prestigious prize awarded to local forest activist

Ouch Leng, recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Goldman Environmental Prize
Ouch Leng, recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Goldman Environmental Prize

Prestigious prize awarded to local forest activist

Cambodian environmentalist Ouch Leng was named as one of six recipients of the world-renowned Goldman Environmental Prize yesterday for his efforts to expose illegal logging and the corruption associated with it.

Established in 1990, the prize is awarded to individuals who undertake “great personal risk to safeguard the environment”, with a winner from each inhabited continent being chosen each year by a seven-member jury.

In addition to international recognition and a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington, DC, recipients are awarded a $175,000 cash prize.

Leng, the founder and chairman of Cambodia Human Rights Task Force (CHRTF), an organisation dedicated to fighting illegal logging and the timber trade, was awarded the prize for exposing the corruption behind economic land concessions (ELCs), which have since been subject to government review.

“Ouch went undercover to gather evidence of illegal logging activities, posing as a laborer, timber dealer, driver, tourist, and even as a cook. He documented the illegal operations of Cambodia’s biggest timber magnate [Try Pheap] . . . revealing how ELCs were used as a cover for illegal logging and exposing criminal collusion between timber companies and government officials at all levels of power,” the prize’s website reads.

Just a day ahead of the prize’s announcement, the CHRTF started a change.org petition calling on Prime Minister Hun Sen and Environment Minister Say Sam Al to take meaningful action to protect Cambodia’s remaining forests.

“To secure Cambodia’s natural heritage for future generations – stop the sawmills and save Cambodia’s forests,” it reads.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused