The Ministry of Environment and The American Friends Service Committee, known as the Quakers, have jointly prepared new general guidelines on strategic environmental impact assessment. The guidelines will function alongside exiting assessment measures to ensure environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation.

Ministry secretary of state Sao Sopheap said that the ministry had accelerated and enhanced the work of assessing the environmental impact of development projects in Cambodia.

He added that in order to help complement environmental, socio-economic and health impact assessments, it is necessary to prepare guidelines which will be applied at the policy, planning and programme implementation levels. The guidelines will serve as tools for devising a baseline plan for all areas which allow development.

“For the principle of strategic environmental assessment to be successful, it requires the preparation of a clear legal framework, a strategic plan and capable human resources. This will require the cooperation of government institutions, local authorities, development partners and the owners of new development projects.

Sandra Veloso, Asia director of the American Quaker Service Committee, said this marked a new step in the cooperation between the ministry of Environment and her organisation.

“The two sides have jointly established legal documents relating to environmental impact assessment, including a manual for involuntary resettlement of private investment projects,” she added.

She said the guidelines will become mechanisms for ensuring environmental sustainability. She expressed her hopes that they would strengthen and expand the environment ministry’s work to contribute to a reduction of climate change.

The ministry is confident it will achieve its 2050 goal of carbon-neutrality.