Terms of Reference
The establishment of the Rivers Coalition in Cambodia (RCC) was the culmination of several years of efforts to bring together Cambodian and International NGOs to work together on environmental and human rights issues related to hydropower dam development projects on first the Sesan River, then the Srepok and Sekong Rivers (the 3S Rivers) and most recently, on dam related issues affecting Cambodia. Previously, the name of this coalition was the Sesan Working Group (2003-05), which was established by 3SPN, NGOF and CEPA to support dam-affected communities on the Sesan River. With the addition of new NGO members and the expansion of geographical scope, the coalition became the 3S Working Group (2005-06). Today, the name has changed to reflect the growing dam related issues faced throughout Cambodia.
RCC envisions that existing and future hydropower dam projects respect the rights of the affected people and ensures the sustainability of the environment and livelihoods. In order to achieve this, RCC believes that public participation in the planning and decision making process is essential in order to guarantee that the interests, needs, and benefits of affected people are included as well as addressed.
3. Scope of Work:
The overall scope of work for the RCC is on hydropower dam projects that are negatively affecting the environment and people of Cambodia; however the priority area of the RCC continues to be the 3S river basin.
4. Guiding Principles of the RCC:
The following principles guide the work of the RCC:
• Development should be both sustainable and equitable and occur in a transparent, accountable and responsible manner. The protection of the environment and natural resources should also be prioritized in development.
• The livelihoods and rights of communities affected or threatened by destructive infrastructure projects must be protected.
• Human rights, community rights, and cultural identity must be promoted and respected.
• The RCC believes in social and economic justice and works towards it in a peaceful, non-violent, non-partisan and non-corrupt manner.
5. Guiding rights the RCC seeks to address:
Through the efforts of the RCC, the RCC aims to recognize that the rights of the people of Cambodia are respected, along with national, regional, and international environmental and human rights laws and best practice standards. Specifically, the RCC aims to address the following rights:
• The right to redress
• The right to information
• The right to a secure livelihood
• The right to participate in decision-making processes
• The right to access and manage natural resources
6. Roles and Responsibilities of the RCC:
The roles and responsibilities of the RCC are as follows:
• To provide up to date research and data on the issues facing dam impacts.
• To communicate with media in order to publicize relevant public information or events.
• To maintain regular contact, communication, and follow-up through appointment and meetings with relevant embassies, government officials, donor organizations and other stakeholders.
• To represent as best as possible the issues and concerns of members when releasing messages in the name of RCC.
• To protect interests and provide support to its members, including delegate roles and responsibilities to members when needed.
• Discuss, decide, and reach a clear consensus on priority issues and actions to be taken.
• To properly document all RCC meetings and activities.
• To develop an advocacy strategy yearly on the action to be taken.
• Keep all members informed and consulted for better coordination in efforts towards working together.
• Facilitate dialogue with responsible parties and decision makers in order to advocate for communities rights and interests.
• Provide opportunities for dam affected communities to participate and influence decision making processes.
• Together with dam affected communities RCC initiates advocacy and campaign activities to realize their rights to a secure livelihood.
• Support the creation of a national and transboundary mitigation mechanism
• Endorse and support good water governance mechanisms.
7. Meetings of the RCC:
Members of the RCC agree to hold regular monthly meetings and emergency meetings when required. The location and venue of each meeting will rotate among core member organizations. The date and location and venue for the next meeting will be agreed upon at the end of each meeting.
8. Decision –Making Procedures for the RCC:
Regular decisions for the RCC will be made by consensus. In the event that consensus can not be made, representatives of core member organizations will vote and majority must consent to decision.
In the event that an urgent decision must be made and members are unavailable to attend a meeting, representatives will receive an email stating when a decision must be made (with no less than a 24 hour deciding period) and will also be notified by telephone. A decision will be made at the end of the deciding period and at least four Core Member Organizations must consent to the decision.
RCC advises representatives to consult with the directors of their organizations when necessary.
9. Membership of the RCC:
Membership in the RCC will be made up of representatives in the following categories:
A. Core Member Organizations:
Core Member Organizations are responsible for developing and implementing the work of the RCC as a whole and agree to undertake the following commitment and responsibilities:
• To delegate at least one person from each core member organization to the RCC to serve as a representative from the organization with the ability to make decisions for the RCC on behalf of the organization.
b. Participation and Attendance in Meetings and Activities:
• To regularly attend meetings or notify your absence in advance and follow 3SWG updates/minutes.
• To participate in all RCC activities and the decision-making process regarding those activities.
• To facilitate and coordinate meetings of RCC (when held at your office) as well as to share and discuss priority issues.
• To regularly attend meetings with relevant stakeholders, such as the government and donors.
• c. Communication:
• To maintain regular communication with the RCC members.
• To voice concerns of stakeholders to the RCC.
• d. Information Sharing
• To share information, ideas, experiences and feedback with all members.
• To support information gathering towards advocacy efforts.
• To give feedback on the progress of each organizations’ activities on a regular basis.
• e. Provide Support
• To help other members when needed.
• To assist in finding solutions to problems within the RCC.
• To collect and disseminate information to the RCC.
• To aid in capacity building efforts to relevant networks and communities.
• To mobilize community networks when needed.
• To finish delegated action identified in meetings in a timely manner.
• To share technical knowledge and skills when needed.
• f. Financial Resources and Facilities:
• Contribute financial resources and/or staff when needed and possible.
• Share facilities (such as website and meeting venue) when needed and possible.
The following NGOs are core member organizations:
• Cambodian Volunteers for Society (CVS)
• Conservation and Development on Cambodia (CDCam)
• Cultural and Environment Preservation Association (CEPA)
• Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT)
• NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF)
• Oxfam America (OA)
• Oxfam Australia (OAus)
• Sesan, Srepok and Sekong Rivers Protection Network (3SPN)
B. Supporting Organizations
Supporting Organizations are NGOs that wish to support the efforts and work of the RCC but are unable to adhere to the roles and responsibilities of the core member organizations or wish to remain only in a support role on an ad hoc basis.
The following NGOs are supporting organizations:
• Australian Mekong Resource Center (AMRC)
• Bank Information Center (BIC)
• Center for Biodiversity and Development (CBD)
• Global Alliance for the Preservation of the Environment (GAPE)
• International Rivers Network (IRN)
• Mekong Watch (MW)
• Probe International (PI)
• Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA)
C. Supporting Friends
In addition to our core members and supporting organizations, there are many individuals who are supporting friends. These are individuals who wish to support the efforts and work of the RCC on an ad hoc basis. They include academics, scientists, monks, researchers, journalists and public.
10. Criteria for Accepting New Members:
The following are criteria for organizations and individuals interested in becoming a member of the RCC:
• To read and accept the RCC’s TOR and sign that you have understood it.
• To remain neutral, independent, and non-partisan as an organization.
• Be a legally registered organization.
• Membership is open to all civil society organizations.
Once the member has applied, the RCC will examine the background, mandate, vision, and mission of the applying organization or individual to ensure that there is no potential conflict of interest. Core member organizations will then vote to decide whether the organization or individual shall be a member based on consensus from the group.
11. Effective Date:
The TOR for the RCC becomes effective on the date of the last signature below and remains in effect unless terminated or extended. This TOR may be amended or extended by mutual written consent of the Core Member Organizations.