On Thursday 21st July 2016: the NGO Forum on Cambodia conducted its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Phnom Penh Ecumenical Diakonia Center (PPEDC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This meeting was a full day meeting among NGO Forum’s members, network members, and relevant stakeholders from 7:30am to 5:00pm. There were 108 participants (42 women) participated in this meeting.
The meeting was opened and welcomed by Mr. Yin Dara, Chairperson of the Management Committee (MC) of the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) and the Program officer of Forum Syd. Firstly, he thanked all government officers, NGOF members, network members, INGOs and NGOs that came to join this AGM today. Then, he started to introduce briefly the objectives and the main sessions including:
1. Update on implementation of legal reform and draft laws
2. Update on the NGOF’s key achievements for 1 year
3. Update on sustainable development goals localization and voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure
4. Discussion on strategic plans for NGOF implementation
Dr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director (NGOF) facilitated session 1. Before presentations of each speaker, he highlighted about the current laws in the process of working such as:
1. 4th draft of Environmental Code (EC)
2. Oil and Gus guideline
3. Agriculture land law
4. Law reform including forestry, fishery, and protected area in order to transfer the ownership to the Sub-national level
Mr. Sok Sothy, Chief of Policy Analysis and Development of National Committee for Sub-National Democratic Development (NCDD) from Ministry of Interior (MoI) presented the Reform of Forestry Law, Fishery Law, and Protected Areas Law. In 2002, forestry, fishery, and protected area law were written as guideline for implementation. There are some challenges, but the only MAFF and MoE have power to implement while other agencies do not. In 2011, we reform on these laws in order to give power to local government under the coordination of NCDD. Relevant government institutions are MoI, MAFF, MoE, Tonlesap Authority, and government authorities. He mentioned the important of NGOF members’ roles as the bridge to bring concerns of communities to government.
Mr. Am Pirum, Deputy Director, department of agriculture land, Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) present on Draft Agriculture Land Law. In 2010, government started drafting agricultural land law and will consider finalizing by end of 2016 with supported by World Food Program (WFP) to do this law. The drafted law contains of 11 chapter and 117 articles, its objective of the law is to protect and conserve the agriculture land. The law not yet highlighted about clear roles and responsibilities of any ministry but only mentioned as “general authority of relevant ministries working on agriculture and agricultural land management in the Royal Government of Cambodia”. Agriculture land is identified base on the quality of soil (high, medium, and poor quality). To conserve and protect the soil quality, this law has divided the type of agriculture land for different cropping or investment. Conserve agriculture water is very important part of this law as well, and choose the good quality of water for irrigating.
H.E. Sum Sokhamphou, Deputy Director General of Environmental Protection of Ministry of Environment (MoE) presented on updates on Draft Environmental Code (EC). The Objective of EC is to collect all related laws to combine with each other by getting involve from all relevant government agencies as well as public participation. There are 7 STWG with about 130 people to support in writing EC, and there are 6 Books (public participation is one of the Books). He also mentioned the important of sharing power and/or governance to the local level in term of environmental management. Currently, MoME and MAFF also formed a TWG to write their sections for contribution to the EC.
Update on the NGOF’s key achievements for 1 year
Mr. Sun Youra, Manager of Research, Advocacy, and Communication Center of the NGOF facilitated the session 2. Before starting the session, he asked all participants to express condolence to Dr. Kem ley for 3 seconds. Then he mentioned about the history of NGOF formulation since 1980s and the six-year strategic plan with 3 year action plan of 2012-2014 and 2015-2017.
Mr. Ouk Vannara, Deputy Executive Director (NGOF) presented the NGOF’s key achievements for one year (July 2015 – June 2016). NGOF working approach is an umbrella NGOs including 5 programmes, with 8 NGOF networks. He mentioned about the roles and responsibilities of each network members working with Environment Programme, Land and Livelihood Programme, and Development Issue Programme. Core Programme plays an important role to support all the 4 programmes to be well-functioning for their works to influence government policies for better livelihood of the poor and vulnerable people.
Mr. Yin Dara, Chairperson of the meeting summarized the main discussion outputs such as forestry, fishery and environment law reform, process of doing agriculture land law, EC formulation, achievement of NGOF, financial budget of NGOF, 17 SDGs, VGGT, results from the group discussion about how NGOF should provide to members, members provide to NGOF, and the strategies for the future advocacy work plan. Finally, he thanked all participants and speakers from government agencies and NGOs who provide valuable time to fully participate in this meeting and thanks to all donors for providing fund support to either NGOF or members.