13th National Conference on Land and Natural Resources Governance

Phnom Penh, October 27, 2020: 63 civil society organizations co-organized 13th National Conference on Land and Natural Resources Governance at Tonle Bassac 2 Restaurant with 200 participants, including National Assembly representatives (1st and 3rd Committees) Ministry of Interior, Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, Department of Culture of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Fisheries Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, governors of the three provinces, civil society organizations, communities, private sector, educational institutes, and journalist.

The objectives of this conference are 1. Provided opportunities for community representatives, civil society, government at the national and sub-national levels, the National Assembly, the Senate, the private sector, research institutions, and development partners to have frank discussions on land issues, indigenous peoples’ housing, and natural resource management to achieve Sustainable Development Goals in Cambodia. 2. Together developed recommendations and input on key policies to contribute to the Royal Government of Cambodia, the National Assembly, the Senate, and other relevant partners to further improve laws, policies and practices and the effectiveness of land and resource governance to achieve a common strategic plan and poverty reduction in Cambodia.

Welcoming Remarks by Dr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) on behalf of organizing committee, NGOF co-organized 13th National Conference on Land and Natural Resources Governance, with 63 national and international NGOs, I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to all, Ladies and Gentlemen who spent their valuable time attending the 13th National Conference on Land and Natural Resources Governance. The conference aims to provide an opportunity for the communities, sub-national authorities, and relevant institutions to meet and discuss to improve laws and policies related to land, housing, indigenous communities, the environment, agriculture, and natural resources and strengthen the implement laws and regulations aimed to promote land and natural resources governance. On the other hand, the conference focus on addressing social impacts and protecting the environment, as well as the sustainable development of people’s lives in Cambodia.

Keynote Speech by Dr. Pech Sokhem, Executive Director of CDRI, Governance and Government its concept of the land management and administration covers the legal and policy framework for land, as well as tradition/formal and practices governing land transactions, inheritance and dispute resolution. Land governance involves a procedure, policies, processes and institutions, and decision process. Land is not a renewable resource as water and forest, which mean that we can not increase the land by pouring land into the sea to expand the land. In addition, Dr. Sokhem mentioned the history of land tenure, agricultural land encroachment from the history, and until the French colonial period, we had the French law in 1863-1953. Until 2001, there was a land law to recognize land tenure and have recognized the land of indigenous communities as well as the people of Cambodia began to have land titles.

Opening Remarks at the National Conference on “Governance of Land and Natural Resources” H.E Tak Vantha, High Representative of H.E Nin Saphon, Chairman of the Ninth Committee of the National Assembly, said that the legislature and the executive bodies have been focusing on legal reform. While the policies such as the draft of Environmental and Natural Resources Code, amendments to the Forest Law, the Fisheries Law, the Natural Resources Protected Areas Law, and the Land Law in 2001, as well as a number of other legal standards to meet the needs of our national development. These are laws to ensure the peace and improve people’s livelihood. The National Assembly has done its job well by fulfilling its three core functions: the legislative role, the oversight role, and the role of people’s representatives by receiving complaints, conducting research and understanding of law enforcement at the local level, and intervention of the Royal Government of Cambodia to review and resolve.