On 3rd – 4th May 2017, the NGO Forum on Cambodia with cooperation of the Ministry of Interior and other NGOs facilitated the National Consultation Workshop on the amendments of Law on Forestry and Law on Protected Areas (the Laws) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. For the workshop, various local NGOs (32), representatives from affected communities (rural and indigenous peoples) and officials from the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Ministry of Environment were invited. The number of participants on the 1st day was 86 (19 women), the second day attended 81 (18 women) participants from Phnom Penh and other 16 provinces.
The Workshop was based on consultations between the participants. On the basis of results of consultations, the recommendations of possible amendments to the Laws were made. To come up with the suggestions, the analysis of each Chapter in the Laws had to be done. Participants reviewed each article.
The Workshop was divided into 3 sessions. First session was devoted to general comments on each Chapter and its articles. The recommendations of each article were made in the second session. The last session was dedicated to the summary of the key recommendations.
The summary of key recommendations:
– More participation of people in decision-making process
– The equality before the law; the inactive and corrupted authorities should be punished as well
– The Forestry Law and the Law on Protected Areas should be only 1 Law to avoid duplicates of roles and responsibility of Protected Areas and Forestry Areas rangers
– Forest Concession mentioned in Chapter 5 should be eliminated
– Request for better participation of religious people and pagodas in forest development
– The period of Community Forestry should be extended from 15 years to 30 years
– National law should comply with the conditions of the International Law
– More space for civil society in the natural resources management
– Request for the right to transport non-timber forest products (e.g. resin and honey) within provincial areas with tax exemption
The result of the consultation was submitted to the Ministry of Interior to make decision.