Natural Resource Governance

Cambodia is rich in natural resources of land, water, extractives and fisheries, the exploitation of which has underpinned the country’s rapid economic development. However major inequalities and disparities exist between urban – rural, the uber rich, the general population those dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods particularly women. Cambodia’s ecosystems, peoples and economic future are experiencing the increasing impacts of this continuous natural resource exploitation combined with the impacts of climate change and the economic disruption to trade, travel and heath caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is resulting in a disproportionate impact on those who are marginalized from economies, wealth and power including women, youth, and indigenous people who need to be empowered.

The new Natural Resource Governance (NRG) Programme 2022-2027 will guide existing and intended works in Cambodia and align with Oxfam CLV (Cambodia Laos and Vietnam) cluster strategy. NRG programme focuses on supporting natural resource dependent communities -particularly women, youth, and indigenous peoples in rural areas- to be networked, have the capacity to be resilient to and respond to climate change and realise their rights to sustainable livelihoods and development. This will be achieved by facilitating access to and control over the equitable benefits from natural resources -land, water, extractives, forestry, and fisheries.


will support civic society to hold governments and the private sector accountable for their own priorities and regulations, to implement international standards and safeguards, best practices and meet commitments to transparency on their project plans. All the work will be informed by Oxfam’s commitment to safe programming supporting humanitarian response and preparedness, feminist principles and achieving gender justice, women’s rights and the promotion of women’s leadership in Natural Resource Management (NRM). The NRG strategy will be focused on addressing root causes and influencing change that will involve cross-border, up-stream and downstream cooperation at all levels and the mobilization of international interests, affected communities’ knowledge and voice. By building networks and alliances through Oxfam’s natural resource programme work it is anticipated that civic society across Cambodia and the cluster countries including Laos and Vietnam will be more influential on governments and the private sector policies and practices and their security better protected.


  • The rights-based strategy is built around four specific objectives and associated activities for communities, the Government, the private sector and has identified a new focus on the emerging ‘professional or progressive’ citizens who are receptive to new digital and energy technologies and have concerns about the impacts of climate change.
  • Communities including youth and women are empowered to realize their rights to co-manage and challenge decisions regarding the governance of natural resources and have access to justice and their equitable share of benefits
  • The Cambodian Government is more open, inclusive and transparent in its Natural Resource and Climate Change policies, public and private sector contracts and holds itself accountable to comply with its international obligations
  • Private companies are safe, transparent and held accountable in their investment and operations in Cambodia and regionally and their corporate policies include CSR, FPIC and impact on climate.
  • The Public (Cambodian citizens) understands the impact of climate change, growing energy and food security demands on natural resources and calls for and uses technologically smart, community orientated and environmentally friendly solutions.


Informed by Oxfam’s policy principles and a commitment to a rights-based, empowerment approach to development, we will support, strengthen (evidence-based knowledge, skill development and access to wider ‘new’ audiences) and work alongside partners and communities as they adapt and deliver their initiatives and policy influencing. We will increasingly consider climate change and environmental sustainability impacts and support partners and communities to build on opportunities to speak to power, engage in political and policy dialogue and influencing based on their own evidence and experience.

Women’s rights will remain a central focus and we will work to be inclusive by advancing considerations of gender and diversity that includes peoples of diverse sexual and gender identities; marginalized peoples and those who do not share equal rights such as peoples living with disabilities.

Oxfam will invest in robust, relevant and credible research that reflects a fast-changing context and supports informed implementation of international standards and principles, constructive debate and influencing for fair policies and implementation of those policies. We will be an incubator for innovation problem solving and a convenor bringing different and diverse stakeholders together at country and regional level to broker negotiations on the sustainability of natural resources and response to climate change.

We recognise a variety of contexts for our work on natural resources. In some situations, based on our principles, we may stand with people and movements and oppose projects, or contribute good practice suggestions to project development or advocate for benefit sharing or free prior and informed consent rights. Throughout, we will promote policy and practice consistency within Cambodia and across borders, compliance to international best practice environmental and social safeguards, and the recognition of community and indigenous rights.

within Oxfam in Cambodia we will make linkages and leverage between work and partners contributing to other pillars (Voice, WEE, Youth and Gender) and regional and multi-country projects to ensure we are exchanging and drawing in knowledge and expertise to coordinate our approach. As 2022-24 is a transition period for the Cluster Strategy, this internal coordination will increase with colleagues from Laos and Vietnam as the shared programme develops and the country specific work reduces.


The people we work with will be primarily communities vulnerable to environmentally or economically unfair, large-scale investments in markets that exploit natural resources. This is primarily indigenous people, women and youth in poorer farming and natural resource dependent communities, and those communities in the path of dams and irrigation infrastructure, mining projects and large-scale agribusiness. We recognise that indigenous people, women and youth are those most affected by natural resource exploitation and depletion and least included in decision making so we will have a particular focus on supporting their knowledge, skills and inclusion.

also recognize that as responding to climate change becomes a key focus in the CLV Cluster we will be seeking to engage with the emerging salaried class in Phnom Penh who can influence government decision making on environmental issues and energy options.

We will also work with Financial Institutions, Banking Associations for sustainable finance, accountability and transparency to investors and the private sector. These relationships will be shared with the Inclusive Green Economy and Finance team.


  1. Advancing CSO's Capacity To Enhance Sustainability Solutions
  2. Fair For All-Promote Responsible Agriculture Value Chains
  3. Extractive Industries
  4. Responsible Agriculture Investment in Cambodia
  5. Land Governance and Responsible Agriculture Investment
  6. People Protecting Their Ecosystems in The Lower Mekong Phase III (PEM III)
  7. Inclusive Water Governance-Inclusion Phase II


There is two regional programs based at Oxfam in Cambodia: Water Governance and Extractive Industries. Below is their partners:

Water Governance Program

Extractive Industries Program