BANGKOK, 6 July 2015- Representatives from Phang Nga province have delivered a letter to the National Reform Council (NRC) committee on natural resources and environmental reform, conveying their disapproval of the community forest bill.
The group argued that the current version of the bill hinders the management of community forests by local communities. They cited a stipulation in the bill that prohibits the establishment of community forests in protected zones, effectively negating the rights of communities that have long resided in the area for generations.
The group therefore called for the bill to be revised to truly reflect the country’s reform principles of facilitating citizen participation. They also asked that community forests laws remain separate from laws regarding protected forests and endangered species in order to prevent difficulties in legal interpretation.
The petition by the group is the most recent addition to the movement against the act. The bill has received criticism by community networks for stripping local communities the right to participate in the management of community forests.