Cambodia Safeguards Support (2015-2016)

Although Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been a legal requirement in Cambodia since 1999, many poorly planned investment projects continue to have major environmental and social consequences.

In late 2014, the GMS Core Environment Program (CEP) initiated support to the Ministry of Environment (MoE) to identify issues and find solutions to improve the country’s safeguards system.

In early 2015, CEP completed a review of current EIA practice in Cambodia and put together an action plan proposing 25 priority initiatives, many of which will require donor support.

Among the main issues identified were a lack of technical and institutional capacity, weaknesses in the legal framework, and that EIAs were often not following the legal requirements.

The priority initiatives identified in the action plan covered capacity building programs, awareness raising, pilot strategic environmental assessment studies (for energy and mining), and improvements to EIA monitoring.

A series of new Prakas’ (ministerial decisions) were also proposed based on a draft EIA law that is expected to be enacted when the country adopts its Environment Code, which is currently being developed. The Code aims to establish a legal framework and principles to ensure all laws relating to environment are effectively applied. 

The MoE requested CEP follow-up support on two of the action plan’s capacity building initiatives both of which target weaknesses in the application of EIA in provinces. Cambodia’s provincial authorities are responsible for overseeing the EIA process for investment projects up to USD 2 million in value, yet EIA officials widely lack the qualifications and training to fulfill this role effectively.

In November 2015, CEP delivered trainings in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville for around 60 EIA officials from multiple provinces, and then in Ratanakiri in September 2016 for 48 participants. The 3-day training courses focused on building technical capacity to review EIA reports. 

On 17-19 May 2016 a 3-day training for provincial EIA officials from throughout the country was held in Siem Reap with an aim to strengthen their technical capacity for monitoring the compliance of projects as environmental management plans are implemented.

Publish Date: 11th May 2016

Last Updated: 4th June 2018

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