Final consultation on Environmental Impact Assessment

From left: Mr. Danh Serey, Head of Department of Environment Impact Assessment of Ministry of Environment (MOE), H.E. Tea Chub, Under Secretary of State, MoE, and Mrs. Lim Solinn, Country Director of Oxfam in Cambodia. Photo: Naratevy Kek/Oxfam

Final consultation on Environmental Impact Assessment

The Cambodian Ministry of Environment (MoE), together with Oxfam and partner, Development Partnership in Action (DPA), organized the final consultation workshop on Environmental Impact Assessment Guideline on Mining, Oil, and Gas on December 15th . The workshop was to solicit final feedback from stakeholders–concerned ministries and authorities, private sector–developers and consulting firms, NGOs and communities of 120 participants to improve the guideline and make sure that the guidelines is applicable in the Cambodian context.

"It's an important guideline for the stakeholders particularly the Department of Environment Impact Assessment [of MOE], the companies who access the environmental impact, and mining," said H.E. Tea Chub, Under Secretary of State, MoE. "The guideline follows the legislation and legal procedure that help those stakeholders to access the environment and social impact more effectively ," he added.

The outcome of the workshop was that the draft guidelines for oil, gas and mining were considered as inclusive and comprehensive which incorporated national and international best practices.

The guidelines will enable the Government, developers, consulting firms, and companies to have comprehensive technical guidance to follow when conducting the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for mining, oil, and gas development projects and for CSOs and local communities to monitor the government’s and the company’s implementation of the guidelines during and after completing EIA reports.

Head of Department of Environment Impact Assessment, Mr Danh Serey, said, the consultation workshop marks an important milestone whereby close collaboration and constructive partnership of Oxfam and the Ministry of Environment  of Cambodia have develop a final draft of the guidelines after five year of Oxfam’s technical and financial support.

Group discussion and presentation on their feedback over the guideline. Photo: Naratevy Kek/Oxfam

Stakeholders agreed that the guidelines shall integrate social concerns such as FPIC, social impact assessment, grievance mechanism and gender as additional requirements within the scope of conducting and reporting social and environmental impact assessment of oil, gas and mining projects.

Mr Lay Khim, Oxfam's Regional Program Director of Extractive Industry, said the participants can still provide their comments via email, phone call or other channels to the team until the end of December–the time to  incorporate the feedback and finalize the draft. Then, it is MOE role to sign off and issue Prakas to officially implement the guideline. The next step after this is to build the relationship between companies and communities.

"I'm so happy that this guideline is finally at the final stage and will be officially coming out soon. It gives a space for the community, companies and other stakeholders to consult and map out a way they can work together," said Mrs Lim Solinn, Oxfam's Country Director.