Chinese Company’s Monument to Disaster

Chinese Company’s Monument to DisasterA vast, ornate, moldering gambling resort complex on the Gulf of Thailand has come to embody many of the problems plaguing foreign projects in Cambodia – lack of transparency, poor planning, environmental hazards and displacement of local communities. The resort, built by the Tianjin-based Union Development Group (UDG), a Chinese entity, was meant to be…

Logging Corruption in Vietnam and Cambodia

Logging Corruption in Vietnam and CambodiaIn a new report that promises to make waves all the way to Europe, the watchdog Environmental Investigation Agency takes aim at Vietnam's timber processing industry and the role it plays in the illicit timber trade from Cambodia. The study comes just days before Vietnam and the European Union are meant to finalize their discussions…

Cambodia’s Virachey National Park in Danger

Cambodia’s Virachey National Park in DangerOn a January late afternoon I was sitting in a small jungle clearing about 500 meters over the Cambodian border in Laos, utterly lost in a lost world. It was almost completely silent save for the melodious warble of an unseen bird. There is almost nothing which demarcates the international border between Cambodia and Laos…

Cambodia’s Capital City Reaches for the Sky

Cambodia’s Capital City Reaches for the SkyPhnom Penh -- the city the Khmer Rouge emptied in 1975 – is now a sprawling urban center of 1.7 million people whose skyline could soon be unrecognizable as a slate of skyscrapers are either planned or under construction – and possibly just in time for a rude property shock in a market characterized by…

Cambodia’s Illegal Logging Crisis

Cambodia’s Illegal Logging CrisisTree cover loss in Cambodia has accelerated faster than in any other country in the world since 2001, so fast that Prey Lang, one of Southeast Asia's last great forests, is disappearing. Supposedly that has alarmed Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, who in February threatened to fire rockets at illegal loggers. Environment Minister Say Samal…

Illegal Viet Rice Floods Cambodia Market

Illegal Viet Rice Floods Cambodia MarketAn estimated of 800,000 tonnes of low-quality Vietnamese milled rice has been imported illegally into Cambodia since 2015, flooding the domestic market with cheap rice driving small domestic millers out of business because they have been unable to compete. After being a net exporter of milled rice, Cambodia became a net importer   2015 with these…

Opinion: Cambodian Rice Industry Endangered by Bad Policy

Opinion: Cambodian Rice Industry Endangered by Bad PolicyIt may be only a matter of time before Cambodia’s rice industry disintegrates, partly as a result of a weak Cambodian Rice Federation and partly because of misguided government policies. It is an industry fraught with deep problems since the 1970s, when it was largely destroyed from the depredations of the Khmer Rouge. As a…

Cambodia Holiday Policy Hampers Competiveness

Cambodia Holiday Policy Hampers CompetivenessThe Cambodian government just released its official list of public holidays for 2016, beating past years’ record by increasing the number of public holidays for 2016 to be 28 days notwithstanding when holidays fall on a weekend (Saturday-Sunday) the following Monday is off as compensation. Add to that mandatory annual leave of 18 days, people…

Cambodia’s Quest for Effective Leadership

Cambodia’s Quest for Effective LeadershipTwo solid years after Prime Minister Hun Sen vowed in an hours-long speech at the inaugural first Cabinet Meeting to lead a “Reform Mandate” (2013-2018), the momentum has subsided and the balloon has deflated. The New Normal has ceded place to the Old Normal. Reflecting back to leadership quality and challenges described in books published…

Cambodia in Peril from Mekong Dams

Cambodia in Peril from Mekong DamsThe planned construction of 88 hydroelectric dams in the lower Mekong basin by 2030 means Cambodia will pay the region’s highest price for dam development, analysts say. The proliferating dams could affectg the food security of its 80 percent rural population, said Eric Baran, a specialist with the WorldFish Center, an international research NGO based…