The Ministry of Environment and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have signed a joint agreement to launch a project aimed at strengthening water treatment capacity in Cambodia and better monitoring and managing water resources.

The Project for Capacity Development on Water Quality Control was signed on June 13 by ministry secretary of state Sao Sopheap and JICA’s Cambodia office chief representative Sanui Kazamasa.

Neth Pheaktra, also a secretary of state and spokesperson for the ministry, emphasised the importance of this cooperation, stating that this is an important cooperation, with the ministry playing an essential role in managing the quality of water, especially liquid waste drainage from factories and other places that require good liquid waste management.

“The project also focuses on waste management, monitoring of wastewater treatment to prevent any water pollution before flowing into natural water sources,” said Pheaktra.

The three-year project aims to establish an appropriate monitoring and management system for surface water and wastewater in the target water areas, based on the sub-decree on water pollution control. Recognising the significance of this cooperation project, the ministry’s General Department of Environmental Protection has cooperated with JICA’s technical working group to prepare the second phase.

According to the ministry, the project is scheduled to start this year and is expected to enhance water quality analysis through the ministry’s laboratory. It will also establish a surface water quality monitoring and wastewater inspection system, improve the ability to formulate water quality management plans, and share best practices on implementing the sub-decree on water pollution control with stakeholders.

In the first phase, the general department implemented a project focusing on environmental impact assessment and pollution control. This capacity development phase, which lasted three and a half years, received technical assistance from the Japanese development agency and aimed to strengthen the officials’ capacity to monitor, prevent and reduce environmental pollution, particularly regarding environmental impact assessments (EIA) and water.

The ministry said that through the project implementation, the capacity of expert officials in the general department has been significantly strengthened.