The REDD+ Strategy is designed in compliance with the objectives of national forest programmes, considering recent jurisdictional arrangements, and consistent with provisions of the relevant treaties and international conventions to which Cambodia is a party.
The Royal Government of Cambodia has instituted several policies and laws which aim to create a coherent, national forestry management program, including a unified definition for a management framework. The Forestry Law defines a management framework for forests, with the National Forest Program specifically aimed at unifying the goals of any forest resource development program.
Cambodia is also a signatory to 39 relevant international treaties.
The mission of the National REDD+ Strategy is to strengthen the functioning and capacity of national and sub- national institutions for effective implementation of policies, laws and regulations to enhance management of natural resources and forest lands, and biodiversity conservation.
The rights of access to information, accountability, justice, gender equality, land tenure and fair distribution of benefits will be clarified, respected and promoted in the scope of the application of the National REDD+ strategy.
The right to access information stems mostly from a right to participation across different pieces of legislation.
Cambodia provides clear measures to deal with corruption in general, which are directly applicable to the forest sector. In addition, most of the legislation in the sector contains additional references and specific references to offences relating to corruption in their field.
Law on Audit (2000) establishes the National Audit Authority (NAA) as an independent agency which is responsible for conducting audits of transactions, accounts, systems, controls, operation and programs of government institutions. The law requires the NAA to certify the annual budgets of the government and report to the National Assembly and the Senate. If any serious irregularities are found by the Auditor-General they must be reported.
The National REDD+ Strategy outlines the creation of a monitoring and evaluation framework which is intended to create an enabling environment of accountability and learning. These instruments will contribute to effective and timely implementation, strengthen accountability and transparency, and promote participatory and open learning. The framework will also have indicators that allow for sustained focus to track delivery of results and benefits to vulnerable communities, indigenous peoples, and women. Collection of gender disaggregated data would be prioritized.
Additionally, the National REDD+ Strategy states that as and when established, the REDD+ fund would adhere to internationally accepted principles of transparency, accountability, effectiveness, equity and efficiency. In addition modalities and requirements of development partners who provide up front non- results based finance would be negotiated on a case by case basis.
The Land Law (2001), Forestry Law (2002), Fisheries Law (2006), and Protected Area Law (2008) all recognize the rights to traditional access and customary user rights by local communities and indigenous peoples.
The National REDD+ Strategy includes among its objectives the improved management and monitoring of forest resurces and forest land use, which includes the strengthening of the management of forest conservation areas, such as protected areas and flooded and and mangrove conservation areas, and the promotion of forest land tenure security through forest land classification, zoning, demarcation, and registration.
The Cambodian Constitution clearly prohibits any discrimination against women and establishes that they have the same rights, freedoms, and obligations of all Khmer citizens. The Constitution states its recognition for and respect of the UN Charter on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Article 31, and Cambodia is a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (1992).
Certain other laws, sub-decrees, and programs recognize the unique role that women have and within the law there are stipulations regarding actively encouraging women to participate.
The National REDD+ Strategy supports and complements the implementation of Cambodia’s broader development plans in particular, the Gender and Climate Change Action Plan 2014-2018. Additionally, a gender group was established by the REDD Task Force (RTF) to build awareness on gender issues among members of the RTF, consultation group and technical teams and to review and provide gender-specific inputs to the NRS. The four members of the gender group are affiliated with FA and FiA of MAFF, MoE, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA).
The REDD+ Strategy will be implemented in accordance and with full respect to the rights of recognition of, and respect for the rights of original ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and local communities; including the rights to non-discrimination, traditional knowledge and culture, self-determination, benefit sharing and collective tenure rights.
The Cambodian Constitution recognizes that all Khmer citizens (which includes indigenous people under the NPDIP) are equal before the law regardless of race, colour, national origin.
The Land Law (2001), Forestry Law (2002), Fisheries Law (2006), and Protected Area Law (2008) all recognize the rights to traditional access and customary user rights by local communities and original ethnic minorities. These recognitions cover land rights, rights to forest products and by-products, and rights to have fishery communities. Traditional decision-making and dispute resolution mechanisms are recognized.
The National REDD+ strategy will be guided by the several guiding principles, which include: Ensure full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, including those most vulnerable, such as local communities, indigenous peoples and women.
The right to participate, in an effective manner including FPIC for relevant original ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and local communities will be recognized and promoted under the implementation of the National REDD+ Strategy.
Cambodia’s laws regulate the right for public participation in forest related decision-making processes and projects.
Several laws define relevant stakeholders for public consultation processes for a certain set of procedures and circumstances. These definitions include relevant ministries, local authorities, relevant departments, company owners, consultative firms, representatives of communities who are affects, and representative of NGOs.
There are clear dispute resolution mechanisms relevant to environmental and protected area decision-making found in the Protected Area Law, Environmental and Natural Resources Protection Law and the National Policy on the Development of Indigenous Peoples.
The National REDD+ Strategy includes among its objectives and strategies the encouragement of public engagement, participation and consultations in forestry and land use planning, and promote the involvement of multiple stakeholders .Furthermore, the National REDD+ strategy will be guided by the several guiding principles, which include: Ensure full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, including those most vulnerable, such as local communities, indigenous peoples and women.
Cambodia’s laws and guidelines regulate the participation of indigenous peoples. The Forestry Law and Protected Area Law include provisions generally concerning local authorities and peoples in forest decision-making processes. The Land Law (2001) further recognizes the role of traditional authorities, mechanisms, and customs in decision making processes. The National REDD+ strategy will be guided by the several guiding principles, which include: Ensure full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, including those most vulnerable, such as local communities, indigenous peoples and women.
The National REDD+ Strategy will be implemented to promote the conservation of natural forests and biodiversity, the enhancement of social and environmental benefits, and will not result in the conversion of natural forests.
Cambodia’s laws include provisions for the protection of natural forest areas. Recent policies provide additional mechanisms for the protection of natural forest areas and for the protection and conservation of biodiversity
Numerous laws and regulations require environmental planning, including forest and protected area management planning, and regular monitoring and evaluation.
Protected area and forestry legislation set some degree of control over conversion in both public and private forests through environmental impact assessments.
Cambodia has had a moratorium on issuing economic land concessions since 2012, which halts the conversion of forest lands to other land use due to economic land concessions and helps to maintain forest cover.
The Protected Area Law seeks to protect biological, natural and cultural resources for environmental, social and economic benefits, and the Forestry Law seeks to protect social, economic, environmental, and cultural heritage benefits of the permanent forest estate
The National REDD+ Strategy recognizes and promotes the achievement of multiple benefits. The Government recognizes that the sustainable management of forest resources will make an important contribution to local livelihoods, generate co-benefits and build resilience against extreme climate-change-induced events.
Risks of reversals and displacement of emissions of the REDD+ interventions will be addressed through the MRV and national forest monitoring system
Cambodia’s laws and regulations require mapping of forest resources. They require carrying out social and environmental impacts assessments and subsequent monitoring of activities and projects and numerous laws and regulations require environmental planning, including forest and protected area management planning, and regular monitoring and evaluation.
Cambodia’s laws aim prevent and fight forest fires, and include provisions to minimize risks posed to human health and the environment from pollutants, wastes, and hazardous materials addition to requiring environmental impact assessments to avoid, minimize, and mitigate those risks.
Cambodia’s provide law enforcement bodies with mandates to conduct routine monitoring. Policies provide mechanisms to improve mandates, resources, and expertise.
The National REDD+ Strategy outlines that Cambodia’s National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) will monitor information relevant to measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of REDD+ activities, and support broader forest sector policies and programmes, including the NFP, NPASMP and SPFF. The design of Cambodia’s NFMS uses a phased approach that incorporates inclusion of improved methods, data, and opportunities from strengthened capacity and evolving technology. This will ensure that the NFMS continues to provide timely, reliable, and accurate information that informs policy and practice to address deforestation and forest degradation drivers in Cambodia.