Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Civil society groups ‘not engaged’ in draft of new environment code

Civil society groups ‘not engaged’ in draft of new environment code

Environment Minister Say Samal speaks at a forum on natural resources yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Environment Minister Say Samal speaks at a forum on natural resources yesterday in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Civil society groups ‘not engaged’ in draft of new environment code

Environment Minister Say Samal yesterday asked civil society organisations to refrain from accusing the ministry of “not listening to their voice” in drafting an ambitious environmental code because they hadn’t provided any feedback, though several NGOs maintained they have been “heavily” involved in the process.

Samal’s comments were made at the National Council for Sustainable Development’s second meeting, which he chaired. A number of other issues were also discussed, such as the future use of funding from carbon credit sales to combat deforestation and to encourage sustainable practices in Mondulkiri province.

According to the minister, civil society has not engaged much in the process of drafting the 400-page code, which has been in the works since 2015 and is now on its 10th draft.

“If they accuse us of not listening to their voice, they never gave any comment to us so far,” he said.

The environmental code aims to promote sustainable development through protection and restoration of the environment. In its current form, it also assigns greater management control of natural resources to the local level.

Thomas Gray, director of science at Wildlife Alliance, said civil society groups had in fact been very involved in the code.

“I’m a little surprised the minister would say that,” he said. “We are very keen to be involved until it gets finalised.”

Sey Peou, who is the lead on the environmental code with NGO Forum, said he couldn’t comment on what Samal said. However, he maintained NGO Forum has been involved since the beginning.

Following the release of the third draft of the code, a civil society working group was established to give written comments directly to the ministry and to provide feedback to the Vishnu Law Group, which has assisted the ministry in revising the drafts, he said.

“From the third draft to the 10th, we had regular meetings to review every draft,” he said. Peou said NGO Forum will continue to mobilise other NGOs to provide feedback. “[This is] to ensure the code will benefit everyone,” he added.

Brian Rohan, a legal adviser at Vishnu Law Group, didn’t respond to a request for comment as of press time.

Khut Chandara, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Environment, said the ministry had sent a new draft to the Council of Ministers yesterday. The ministry expects it to be approved by the end of the year.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM orders immediate action against ‘sexy’ live streamers

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered immediate action against women who live stream their sales pitches on Facebook wearing revealing clothing. The prime minister said the practice erodes traditional Cambodian values and disgraces women. Hun Sen gave the order to officials attending the Cambodian

  • Trump tweets praise for Kingdom docking ship

    Cambodia continues to earn praise for its humanitarian act of allowing the MS Westerdam cruise ship with more than 2,200 passengers and crew on board to dock at the Preah Sihanouk port. The praise this time comes from none other than US President Donald Trump. “Thank

  • Tourist area greenlit in Sihanoukville

    The National Committee for Coastal Management and Development will coordinate with relevant ministries over the establishment of a billion-dollar tourist area named Neak Reach in Preah Sihanouk province after it was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and

  • Organic vegetable retailer unveils QR code scheme for origin source

    Organic vegetable retailer Natural Agriculture Village has introduced QR codes on its product packaging, which will allow consumers to see where their produce comes from. Natural Agriculture Village president Bun Sieng, who is also a member of local distributor Green Gold, told The Post on

  • Mine kills military officer along border in Preah Vihear province

    A military officer died on Friday after he stepped on a landmine in Preah Vihear province’s Choam Ksan district, near the Thai border. Chin Hat, a 45-year-old warrant officer, died instantly as a result of the explosion. He was attached to the K-398 unit

  • Private sector, unions ‘regret’ EBA decision

    The private sector and workers associations have expressed disappointment at the EU’s recent decision to partially withdraw the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme awarded to Cambodia. The Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, the European Chamber of Commerce, and the American Chamber of Commerce, together with