On Thursday, October 12, 2019, at the Tonle Bassac 2 Restaurant in Phnom Penh, the NGO Forum on Cambodia in cooperation with the Ministry of Rural Development, UNOHCHR, ICSO, CIPO, My Village, CLEC, HEKS, FLO, CIYA, DPA, IRAM Network, CIPA, NTFP, NTFP-EP and CEDAC in organizing consultative workshops to plan a strategy on conservation and development of indigenous peoples. The workshop was attended by about 350 participants from the Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, civil society organizations, national and international organizations, researchers, community development partners, indigenous peoples, commune authorities and media. The following objectives:
• Sharing indigenous peoples’ lessons and experiences of IP in Cambodia.
• Discuss and collect inputs to prepare the draft National Strategic Development Plan.
• Provide opportunities for indigenous communities, relevant institutions, civil society development partners, and academic institutions to discuss indigenous development and conservation in Cambodia.
In the opening remarks, Dr. Sot Soeung, Director of the Department of Ethnic Minority Development, National Consultative Workshop on Strategic Planning for Conservation and Development of Indigenous Peoples on behalf of leaders of the Ministry of Rural Development On behalf of myself, I wish to convey some of the outstanding results. Since early 2006, the Department of Ethnic Minority Development, which has been working closely with the Ministry of Interior and the International Labor Organization (ILO), has been conducting studies on traditional customs, ways of living, livelihoods, and assessing ethnic identity. Three minority villages are Andoung Kralang village in Mondulkiri province, Laoern Crane and Laen village in Ratanakiri province. As a result, the three villages have the support of relevant institutions, authorities at all levels, national organizations, international organizations, and lessons learned to apply to other target villages in order to promote better livelihoods of indigenous peoples. In addition to the achievements made by indigenous people through the ten areas of national policy on indigenous development, the Ministry of Rural Development has cooperated with national organizations, such as the ILO, OHCHR, ICSO, NGO Forum, DPA, HA, CED, MVI and CIPO etc. recognizes the indigenous people in Ratanakiri province in 74 villages, including seven ethnic minority group such as Jarai, Kreung, Kavet, Tampuon, Prov, Lun and Kachak, in Mondul Kiri province in 28 villages such as Punong. In Kratie province in 12 villages, including 4 ethnic minority such as Punong, Kouy, Kroal, and Mel. In Stung Treng province in12 villages including 5 ethnic minorities such as Kouy, Prov, Kreung, Punong, and Kavet. In Kampong Speu province in 5 villages including Souy ethnic minority. In Battambang province in one village including Por ethnic minority. In Preahvihear province in 9 villages including Kouy ethnic minority. In Kampong Thom province in 5 villages including Kouy ethnic minority. In Koh Kong province in 3 villages including Chorng ethnic minority. A total of 150 ethnic minority villages have been identified by the Ministry of Rural Development, 141 ethnic communities, registered as legal entities by the Ministry of Interior, and 25 ethnic communities that have received collective land titles from the Ministry of Urbanization and Construction.
Speaking at the Consultative Workshop, Dr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of NGO Forum on Cambodia said: “In order to facilitate the entry, all participants should be aware of the Sustainable Development Goals of 2019-2030. National 2019-2023 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Farmers and People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) Access to Information, Consultation and Consent (FPIC) Land Law 2001, National Development Policy Indigenous Peoples 2009, Natural Resource Protection Law, Forest Law, Fisheries Law and Environment Law, etc. And so on. In addition, for CSOs in Cambodia, we think that for the next five to ten years, we should:
• Providing additional funding and resources for Indigenous brothers’ education, from the grassroots level to post-secondary education, in particular on researching, compiling, and preserving the language of indigenous peoples in Cambodia.
• Provide more technical and financial resources and human resources for the registration of indigenous communities in Cambodia.
• There should be discussion and support for the establishment of Indigenous Banks or Indigenous Saving Groups or whatever form to provide more opportunities and opportunities for Aboriginal people to access good services. With the lowest interest rates for participating in the conservation and development of indigenous peoples in Cambodia.
• Continuing and pushing for a resolution to the long-standing land dispute between indigenous peoples and some of the remaining developers for the development of Cambodia in accordance with the Cambodian Sustainable Development Goals Framework.
• Relevant ministries should have appropriate coordination mechanisms and provide equal recognition for indigenous communities upon the transfer of management from one ministry to another or a change in the management of the same territory. Indigenous Peoples in accordance with the steps taken to develop and preserve the indigenous communities in the past. For example, the transfer from registration of indigenous communities to protected areas.
• Providing technical capacity building, life-skills training and more appropriate employment options for Indigenous Peoples in their development in view of economic development, social development and environmental protection in the context of Cambodia’s development. At present.
• Establish a National Indigenous Cultural Center in Phnom Penh to display cultural products and showcase indigenous history in Cambodia in order to promote indigenous people’s culture, culture, life and socio-cultural heritage in Cambodia.
H.E NUON DANIEL, Secretary of State, Ministry of Rural Development, representative of H.E Dr. Ouk Rabun, Minister of Rural Development, said that for the conservation and development of indigenous peoples on behalf of the Ministry of Rural Development and myself, I would like to request your Excellency. Ladies and Gentlemen, you are a member of the entire workshop, please provide your inputs and experience the elements into strategic planning, conservation, and development of indigenous peoples in the country to comply with the legal norms in force, such as:
- Land Law, dated 30 August 2001.
- National policy on indigenous development.
3.Indigenous Peoples’ Land Registration and Land Use Policy in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
4.Sub-Decree 83 on the Procedure of Registration of Indigenous Communities Land, dated 09 June 2009.
5.Circular No. 0974/09, dated July 22, 2009, of the Ministry of Rural Development.
- Manual on the process of identification of legal registration and granting of communal land titles to indigenous communities in Cambodia.
However, the Royal Government, as well as the Ministry of Rural Development, other relevant ministries as well as national and international organizations and partners have been working hard in their respective fields and have been very productive and proud. However, there are some challenges that need to be addressed:
- Indigenous communities’ self-identification has been slow.
- There is no cultural center on indigenous peoples’ conservation and development.
- There is no sample village on indigenous peoples’ conservation and development.
- Bilingual education programs of local ethnic minority groups remain limited.
- Lack of facilities and funding for indigenous peoples’ conservation and development work, etc.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the National Consultative Workshop on Strategic Planning, Conservation, and Development of the Minority was presided over by H.E Hab Touch, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, representative of H.E Phoeun Sakona, Minister of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.