Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Report warns on pier project



Report warns on pier project

Soil digging is seen next to the proposed location of the Kampot pier, which an NGO report says could jeopardise livelihoods in the area. Daniel Eyre
Soil digging is seen next to the proposed location of the Kampot pier, which an NGO report says could jeopardise livelihoods in the area. Daniel Eyre

Report warns on pier project

The Kampot Pier Project – a $10 million effort to attract tourists by building a passenger pier – could harm communities due to insufficient consultation, a new NGO report and community representatives claim.

ActionAid’s report, published yesterday and titled Casting a Wider Net – More Consultation needed for the Kampot Pier Project, found that while the pier itself might benefit communities by fostering tourism, authorities – the ministries of tourism, environment and land management – largely failed to consult affected communities and inform them about the impacts of the project, which is almost fully funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The report acknowledges that the potential impacts of the pier are uncertain but says they could include pollution and damage to fisheries if the project is not properly managed. As the Kampot Bay ecosystem is vulnerable, the report argues, consultation of local communities is vital.

“We fish for our main income to finance our families, so when the company fills up the wetland [to build the pier], it will destroy the mangrove trees in the flooded forests, and we are concerned that the aquatic ecosystem cannot survive,” Sim Him, a Trapeang Sangkae community representative, said in an interview. “In the future, it might be difficult for us to catch the fish . . . More people may decide to migrate.”

Him said his community was among those that were not consulted, and while he acknowledged the potential advantages of developing tourism, he said the pier might indirectly affect 300 hectares of the community’s flooded forests.

A shrimp collector with a hand-push net preparing take a boat to Kampot bay for the night. A new NGO report suggests that the Kampot Pier project could harm communities due to insufficient planning and consultation. Henglalin Pao
A shrimp collector with a hand-push net preparing take a boat to Kampot bay for the night. A new NGO report suggests that the Kampot Pier project could harm communities due to insufficient planning and consultation. Henglalin Pao

Environment Ministry spokesperson Sao Sopheap said he was unaware of specifics, but that “each project needs to have a proper environmental and social impact assessment”.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights Executive Director Chak Sopheap said in an email that this lack of consultation was not an exception.

“Lack of consultation is a common theme in Cambodian development projects, with communities frequently not learning about planned development until work is already underway and effects on the community’s land and livelihoods have already materialized,” she said in an email. “In order to ensure that human rights are respected, it is essential that businesses and government engage in meaningful prior consultation.”

Provincial Tourism Department chief Soy Syhol rejected the allegations. “As far as I know, the ADB working group, together with the relevant local authorities, already informed the communities and held discussions with them,” he said.

He argued that as “the pier is far from the communities”, it would not affect them. Additionally, a billboard in Kampot informed the public, he said.

“People are very excited to receive the benefits from this pier project,” Syhol said.

But Sok Kao, a Kampong Samaky fishing community representative, disagreed. “I only knew [about the project] because I joined a meeting with an NGO . . . Although the pier project is not close to our commune, we also have some concerns regarding the fishing,” he said.

“We are also concerned about pollution . . . from the fuel or oil of the ships. And we are not sure if they will allow us to continue fishing at the pier area.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

    Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago. She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital