Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has instructed three ministers to expedite the preparation of three draft laws on forestry, fisheries, and natural protected areas. The laws aim to empower sub-national authorities in line with the principle of decentralisation.

The instruction followed an August 8 meeting with Minister of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries Veng Sakhonn, Minister of Environment Say Samal and Minister of Justice Koeut Rith.

“The preparation of these three laws follows the recommendations of Prime Minister Hun Sen and is in accordance with the government’s policy,” he said in a social media post.

Sar Kheng said the laws need to be drafted as soon as possible to increase the responsibility of sub-national authorities – as well as to define the responsibility of the general public – in the protection, preservation, and development of natural resources in an effective and sustainable way.

Ngan Chamroeun, head of the National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) Secretariat, told The Post earlier that the draft process was begun in April, and that they would have to go through review by specialists before reaching the interior minister.

The agriculture minister told The Post on August 9 that their draft has been reviewed by an inter-ministerial committee led by Sar Kheng and had been sent to the justice ministry for a review on the chapter about penalties.

In March, Hun Sen ordered the agriculture ministry to finalise a draft law on fisheries to strengthen the management of the nation’s fisheries, as well as to combat illegal fishing.

He blasted the ministry for the slowness of its preparation, saying the fact that the ministry had three relevant administrations – agriculture, forestry and fisheries – made it “walk like a person with three legs”.

The environment ministry said in March that several articles of the law on fisheries were being amended.

Article 3 sets the legal framework on all kinds of fisheries products produced in Cambodia, while article 5 defines which ministry has jurisdiction over different areas, as natural protected areas are under the environment ministry’s control. Article 7 relates to the management, preservation and development of fisheries products.