The Senate convened a meeting to examine a draft environment and natural resources code on June 13. The code was approved unanimously, with a 60-0 vote.

The 10th session of the 4th-mandate legislature was chaired by president Say Chhum. A social media post from the body, released the same day, explained that the draft code included provisions and regulations related to the Kingdom’s environment and natural resources.

“It will integrate, harmonise and modernise them in a consistent, comprehensive and harmonious manner. They will serve as the core regulations that will define the jurisdiction of the relevant ministries and institutions in order to facilitate the implementation of their respective functions and roles, in line with the development context of Cambodian society,” it said.

The post added that the draft code would strengthen and improve the management, protection, conservation and restoration of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem functions.

“It will also be helpful for establishing common strategic targets to protect the environment and conserve natural resources,” it said.

The Ministry of Environment said the code will expand the ability of relevant institutions to participate in environmental protection, as well as the management and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, through the establishment of clearly defined functional relationships.

It added that the enhanced efficiency provided by the code will ensure sustainable development and participation in the maintenance of prosperity for the people of Cambodia. The code will also provide mechanisms to promote and enhance environmental awareness through education, advertising and training, by both formal and informal mechanisms.

“This code will act as a strong base regulation for law enforcement officers, especially officials involved in the suppression of environmental and natural resource crimes,” it continued.

Comprised of 12 chapters and 865 articles, the code was approved unanimously by a 98-0 vote of the National Assembly on May 30.

Environment minister Say Samal took to social media on June 13 to announce that the code had sailed through the senate.

“The code supports the establishment of communities where people can learn to work together and live in harmony with nature. People can discuss the use – and protection – of forest resources in ways that will improve the livelihoods of local communities,” he said.

The code also paves the way for the raising of wild animals, such as sambar or red muntjac.

“Protected areas are the pillars that support the economy of local communities.

“We want the residents of protected areas to manage the areas themselves, and this code will support them. However, they must have a community structure that is legally recognised by the environment ministry and the government,” he said.