21-22 March 2018: Up to date, the Draft on Environmental and Natural Resources Code of Cambodia has been reached draft 10 now and expect to be a final one at Draft 11. The Draft Environment and Natural Resources Code covers a range of environmental and natural resources areas including: General Principles of the Environment and Natural Resources Code, Public Participation and Access to Information, Environmental Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Pollution and Waste Management, Biodiversity and Endangered Species Protection, Cultural Heritage Protection, and significant provisions for dispute resolution procedures – including mediation, civil and criminal enforcement. The Draft Code also establishes a new conservation regime for Cambodia, setting up Biodiversity Conservation Corridors and a collaborative management process. The Biodiversity Conservation Corridors expand Cambodia’s existing protected areas to provide linkages and protection for high-conservation areas.

The Draft Code also has specific provisions covering Climate Change, Sustainable Production and Consumption, Fisheries, Water, Forests, Extractive Industries, Energy, Coastal Zone Protection, Environmental Education, and Sustainable Cities.

As the membership organization, the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) takes a lead and plays important role in coordination among NGOs/CSOs and communities for providing and gathering inputs/recommendation on the development of the Code since beginning of Code developing.

Within this sensitive stage, the NGOF and their development partners as well CSO members have organized this 4th CSO national consultation workshop on “The CSOs National Consultation Workshop Environmental and Natural Resource Code” which aims to collect wider inputs from relevant stakeholders and to consolidate comments on the draft 10 of the ENR code and mobiling the CSO and communities for 7th National Consultation Workshop co-hosting by Vishnu Law Group and the Ministry of Environment (MoE).

In the welcomed remark by Mr. Keo Tai, Executive Director of the NTFP-EP and representative of organizing committee. “I thanks to all participants for attending and the organizing committee for co-organizing this workshop. It should be noted that this code might put in place for implementation next year after adoption due to commitment of Royal Government of Cambodia. Since Code developing; we have organized such CSO national workshop within 4 times and 21 technical meetings excluding other informal meetings and workshops for collecting inputs on this code. Regarding decisions from last CSO leaders meeting we have identified into 7 main topics for today discussion are: 1) Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) 2) Public Participation 3) Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) 4) Climate Change (CC) 5) Protected Area 6) Access to information and 7) Collaborative management of Natural Resources. NGOs has developed the Technical Working Group (TWG) including academic people, lawyers, and NGO representatives to provide inputs since the first draft of the code. Also, there were many formal and informal meetings with MoE to discuss on this code. Today, it is very important to identify the common inputs from all participants as it might be the final opportunity for CSOs and communities to provide comments.

I hoped this workshop will become a great chance to collect inputs for improving the final draft of the ENR code in Cambodia since sounds a final consultation one”

Be noted that on March 21, 2018: The NGO Forum on Cambodia together with interesting CSOs in Cambodia to host CSO National Consultation Workshop on the Draft 10 of Environment and Natural Resources Code conducted at Tonle Bassac 2 Restaurant, Phnom Penh. There are 65 participants who from representative of Civil Society Organizations, Community Based Organization, Community Fishery, Community Forestry, Provincial NGOs Network and Youth. The main topics for discussion in this consultation are: 1. FPIC, 2. Public Participation 3. Environment Assessment Plan for Strategy, 4. Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction 5. Protected Area, 6. Access to Information, 7. Co-management on Natural Resources.

Following this CSO workshop Ministry of Environment and Vishnu Law Group co-organized the 7th National Consultation on the Draft of Environment and Natural Resources Code of the Kingdom of Cambodia which is held at Sofitel Hotel on 22 March 2018. There were around 400 participants to join this consultation including our Civil Society Organizations, Community Based Organization, Community Fishery, Community Forestry, Provincial NGOs Network and Youth with coordinating by NGOF.

During these important events; the identified concerns had been voicing out by CSO and communities and they had a pretty dialogue directly Vishnu Law Group and ENR Code developing team. As well the CSOs perspective papers on Draft 10 of ENR Code also had been well documented and official submitted to H.E. Khut Chandara, Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Environment and Chair of ENR Code TWG and Lawyer Mrs. Sao Kagna from Vishnu Law Group.