Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Resource protection laws reviewed

Resource protection laws reviewed

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A bird-eye’s view of a natural protected area released by the environment ministry last year. ENVIRONMENT MINISTRY

Resource protection laws reviewed

Draft amendments to the laws on Forest, Fisheries and Natural Protected Areas may be prepared for a final review in early April, according to a senior Ministry of Interior official.

Ngan Chamroeun – ministry secretary of state and head of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development Secretariat – said working groups held meetings on March 14 to discuss the changes to the three laws. The teams had agreed on key provisions related to the division of responsibilities – which would pave the way for the transfer of fisheries and forestry management functions to sub-national administrations.

“Final drafts should be completed in early April. We will arrange for a final review by technical consultants before interior minister Sar Kheng coordinates a meeting between the heads of the three [relevant] institutions.

“Once approved, they will be submitted to the Council of Jurists and the Inter-Ministerial Council and the Council of Ministers. Finally, they will be sent to the National Assembly,” he said.

According to an announcement by the Ministry of Environment on March 15, the working groups had already reached agreement on articles 3, 5, 6 and 7.

Article 3 states that the law applies to all fishery resources, both naturally occurring, processed and aquaculture in Cambodia, as well as fishing outside of the national jurisdiction in accordance with the law of coastal states or pursuant to international conventions or instruments or agreements to which Cambodia is a party.

Article 5 dictates that the management, conservation and development of fishery resources falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, except for the management, conservation and development of fishery resources within protected areas, which shall be under the jurisdiction of the environment ministry, in accordance with the law on protected areas. The government may define specific roles and responsibilities to ministries and institutions related to the fisheries sector.

Article 6 stipulates that the agriculture ministry manages the conservation and development of fishery resources within its jurisdiction in accordance with the national fisheries policy, the framework of the fisheries strategic plan, the national fisheries management plan and provisions of this Act.

The ministry will establish expert units in charge of fisheries, whose organisation and functioning will be determined by sub-decree.

Article 7 states that the government or agriculture ministry may transfer certain functions and responsibilities of the management, conservation and development of fishery resources to sub-national administrations.

According to announcement, the working groups agreed to provide further input to the secretariat before March 22. Follow-up meetings are scheduled for March 24-25.

Pen Bonnar – the local community empowerment officer at the NGO Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association – previously told The Post that the laws and their draft amendments were sufficient but did not clearly define roles. Defining each institution’s role in the judicial process related to the enforcement of these laws is crucial. Laws are only effective if the perpetrators are punished.

“In the past, the system appeared to protect powerful people when they exploited the environment. It appeared that the laws were enforced only against the small and the weak, with only the average businessmen occasionally charged to preserve appearances. This meant that there was anarchy taking place in protected areas – widespread deforestation, land grabbing and the filling of lakes occurred regularly,” he said.

Bonnar said amending the law will not be effective if nobody is responsible for its implementation.


  • Ministry taking steps over Thai ‘replica’ of Angkor Wat

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has dispatched experts to inspect the ongoing construction of a temple in Wat Phu Man Fah, located in Thailand’s Buriram province. This temple appears to be a replica of Cambodia’s renowned Angkor Wat. The ministry said

  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • PM to open new Siem Reap int’l airport December 1

    Prime Minister Hun Manet and Chinese leaders would jointly participate in the official opening of the new Chinese-invested Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport on December 1. The airport symbolises a new page in the history of Cambodian aviation, which will be able to welcome long-distance flights to

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • Minimum wage set at $204, after Sep 28 vote

    The minimum wage for factory workers in the garment, footwear and travel goods industries for 2024 has been decided at $204 per month, with the government contributing $2. Following several negotiation sessions, the tripartite talks reached an agreement during a September 28 vote, with 46 of 51 votes supporting the $202 figure.

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former