DRAFT 9.1 OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES CODE RELEASED

 ENR Code Draft 9.1 in English 25.07.2017

The Secretariat of the Technical Working Group to Create the Environmental Code is pleased to present to the Ministry of Environment Draft 9.1 of the Environment and Natural Resources Code in Khmer and English for review. This Draft 9.1 includes additional modifications to Book 4 Sustainable Management of Natural Resources Titles 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.

The deadline for receiving comments from the Ministry of Environment is 11 August 2017.

We would like to request that all reviewers please use Track Changes in Microsoft Word for submitting comments and use the Comment Submission Form.

We also ask for reviewers to please be specific when providing proposals for substantive revisions and provide as much detail as possible. In other words, to the greatest extent possible, we ask all reviewers to propose in their comments specific changes in the text of the draft Code, rather than providing general comments about different concepts and approaches.

If any reviewers have conceptual concerns, need clarifications, or would like to raise broader issues, we are ready to meet and discuss these at any time. However, it will be beneficial for such discussions to take place as far in advance of the August 11 deadline as possible. Please contact us directly to arrange meetings.

As we are providing this draft in both Khmer and English, we appreciate any comments regarding any edits that might be necessary to ensure the proper meaning and consistency of the two drafts.

We are in the process of preparing an extensive Glossary of terms to accompany the Code. We expect to release a draft of this Glossary in the next several weeks.

Guidelines on Public Participation in EIA in the Mekong Region

These Regional Guidelines on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regional EIA Guidelines Final have been collaboratively developed by the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) on EIA comprised of 25 government and non-government members from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

These regional EIA guidelines have been developed in response to the shared concern for increasing meaningful public participation in development planning, in the context of increasing investment projects across the Mekong region. Their purpose is to provide practical guidance for implementing meaningful public participation in the EIA process in the Mekong region, in order to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the EIA process, while reducing risks for projects as well as all stakeholders involved. The use of the guideline is envisioned to result in improved, sustainable, and more equitable development outcomes. The guidelines provide a regional “good practice” approach to public participation in EIA and are intended to complement national laws and policies where they already exist with additional “how to” detail. The intended users of these guidelines includes project proponents and EIA consultants, as well as government agencies, project affected people, non-governmental and civil society organizations (NGOs/CSOs), and others.

Formed in August 2015, the RTWG on EIA provides a model multi-stakeholder platform for regional collaboration to strengthen the policy and practice of EIA and to enhance cooperation for inclusive and sustainable development of the region. The RTWG on EIA is comprised of a diverse group of non-government/civil society and government representatives from 10 Ministries across the five lower Mekong countries. The group was supported by national technical advisors and other international technical experts.

Draft Environment and Natural Resources Code of Cambodia finalised

After six drafts and almost 18 months of work, involving national and international experts the Draft Environment and Natural Resources Code of Cambodia has been finalised. The draft has been prepared by Vishnu Law Group with six Sub-Technical Working Groups under the overall leadership of a joint-Vishnu Law Group and Ministry of Environment Technical Working Group.

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.

It is due to be considered by the Government of Cambodia and submitted to the National Assembly for consideration in March 2017.

The Final Draft is available for download enr-code-draft-7-final-31-dec-16

Meeting with Minister for the Environment, Cambodia.

Minister of the Environment

On Monday 12 September, in Phnom Penh, I was honoured to attend a meeting with His Excellency Say Samal, Minister of the Environment, Government of Cambodia, together with representatives from the USEPA and Vishnu Law Group. The meeting was to provide an update on the draft Environmental Code for Cambodia. The USEPA and other US government agencies have been providing expert assistance to Vishnu Law Group. Vishnu Law Group is coordinating the preparation and drafting of a new Environmental Code for Cambodia with the Ministry of the Environment.

Minister of the Environment

Minister of the Environment HE Say Samal

Outline of Environmental Code of Cambodia released for review

Launch of the Outline Draft of the Environmental Code of Cambodia.

The outline of the Environmental Code of Cambodia was released for public comment and review at a workshop in Phnom Penh on 4 April 2016. At the workshop, hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Vishnu Law Group, and attended by members of the Sub-Technical Working Groups, other Government Ministries, and CSOs, there was lively discussion about the Principles for the Environmental Code and the draft outline of the Environmental Code.

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ASEAN ICHR Presentation on EIA in ASEAN

I attended the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights Workshop on Human Rights the Environment and Climate Change in Mandalay, Myanmar, on 26-27 September 2015. My presentation focussed on a regional assessment of EIA in ASEAN and proposed an ASEAN Framework Agreement on EIA as a way of promoting sustainable development within ASEAN member countries. Matthew Baird AICHR September 2015

PACT Mekong Partnership for the Environment Bangkok, August 2015

Presentation by Matthew Baird, Environmental Counsel Asia, at the Shared Solutions: Safeguarding Sustainable Development in the Mekong Region. A Symposium hosted by Thailand ONEP, PACT and the Mekong Partnership for the Environment, USAID, Sweden, and the Stockholm Environment Institute. The presentation was on EIA in the Mekong Region examining the developments in EIA in the five countries in the Mekong Region over the past 4 years.

Shared Solutions: Regional Symposium of Sustainable Development

Opening roundtable
Opening roundtable

Opening roundtable

Over 140 representatives from Government, NGO and the private sector gathered in Bangkok, Thailand to shared strategies and experiences on safeguarding sustainable development in the Mekong Region. The Symposium was hosted by PACT – Mekong Partnership on the Environment, Thailand’s Office of Natural Resources and Environment, USAID, Government of Sweden, and the Stockholm Environment Institute.

DR. Vinod Thomas, Director General of the Independent Evaluation at the Asian Development Bank, gave the keynote presentation on the Business Case for Social and Environmental Safeguards in Infrastructure Lending.

Matthew Baird, gave an opening presentation at the Plenary Session giving an overview of the significant developments in Environmental Impact Assessment in the Mekong Region. He highlighted some of the common themes and challenges in the region.

This was followed by a panel presentation from senior officials from EIA Units in the region. Each of these EIA Directors provided some interesting experiences on the challenges faced by government on EIA.

Impact Assessment and ASEAN Economic Community

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IMG_0664

I was fortunate to be invited to present at the Impact Assessment and the ASEAN Economic Community: A Way Forward for Regional Cooperation. This Regional Workshop was held in May 2015 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Workshop was hosted by the Vietnam Environment Administration, AECEN and Pact with funding by USAID.

The Workshop examined the role of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in promoting sustainable development in the Mekong Region and ASEAN.

My presentation was an overview of EIA in the Mekong Region with particular emphasis on public participation.

National Consultation Workshop on draft EIA Law, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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IMG_9291

The Second National Consultation Workshop on the draft Law on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was opened by H.E Dr. Say Samal, Minister of Environment, on Tuesday 17 March in Phnom Penh.

H.E the Minister said: “The new Environmental Impact Assessment Law marks an important shift to more transparent and accountable environmental management. With the new Law, we will be able to ensure that all future development complies with the government’s nature conservation and environmental protection standards. This Law will be the centrepiece of environmental management for many years to come.”

The new EIA Law will mandate the conduct of a comprehensive and transparent EIA for all types of development projects, including dams, large plantations and urban construction projects. The draft EIA Law provides provisions for access to information and public participation. These will provide “communities and other affected persons unprecedented rights to be informed and participate” in the planning and assessment of development projects.

The draft EIA Law also provides innovative and best practice provisions on climate change, transboundary impacts, and strategic environmental assessment.

Comments and questions are being sought on the draft EIA for consideration and assessment by the EIA Working group with includes the Ministry of Environment, Vishnu Law Group and EIA expert Prof Richard Frankel and Matthew Baird, Environmental Counsel.

The draft EIA Law has been under development since 2011, in a collaborative process between the Ministry of Environment and Vishnu Law Group. To date there have been six consultation workshops throughout Cambodia with hundreds of submissions received over the process.

Ms. Sao Kagna, Manager of Vishnu Law Group, said: “Vishnu has been very pleased to collaborate with the Ministry to create this Law. Stakeholders from all over the country have been very enthusiastic about the very transparent and inclusive way that this Law was created.”

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