Environmental Democracy Index Score
Cambodia received a fair score on the Justice and Transparency pillars, but scored poorly on the Participation pillar. Cambodia has right-to-information provisions in environmental laws but these are subject to broad confidentiality exceptions. Furthermore, the government is not required to proactively disclose environmental and public health information and has not published reports on the state of the environment. Of the three pillars, Cambodia scored lowest on the Participation pillar, mostly because there are few opportunities for public participation in environmental decision making. As for the Justice pillar, the law recognizes broad legal standing in most environmental cases. However, there are no review procedures applicable when environmental information requests are denied, and the law does not address gender-based barriers to justice or ensure that review procedures will be enforced in a timely manner. By addressing these issues, Cambodia could better promote environmental democracy at the national level.
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In recent years, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has approved many development projects, including economic land concessions (ELCs), hydropower projects, coal-fired power plants and mining concessions. There is a need for close attention to the impacts on those vulnerable to such investment projects, especially women, children and ethnic minorities. Environmental issues caused by development projects, such as deforestation and water and air pollution, have led to ecological changes and contributed to global warming. These projects also require public scrutiny and assessment. While Cambodia has a number of environment-related pieces of legislation, such as the Law on Environmental Protection, the Law on Management of Natural Resources, the Sub-Decree on Environmental Impact Assessment, the Sub-Decree on Water Pollution, the Sub-Decree on Management of Solid Waste, and the Control of Air Pollution and Noise Pollution, implementation remains problematic. Moreover, the quality of management and monitoring on water pollution, air pollution and solid and liquid waste management remains poor. With the support from the Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), The Access Initiative (TAI) Cambodia Coalition was established in 2010. The Advocacy and Policy Institute (API) has led and coordinated the TAI Cambodia Coalition. API was established as one of Cambodia’s leading advocacy capacity-building institutions, and led the campaign for a law on public access to public information. In 2012, the TAI Cambodia coalition utilized their TAI assessment to enhance engagement and dialogue between the government, civil society and citizens to improve environmental governance in Cambodia. Activities included implementing the recommendations from TAI Cambodia assessment report and undertaking advocacy activities that promote Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration to empower women and poor people in the process.