National Engagement Strategy
As of 2015, NES Cambodia's achievements include:
- 600 families received land titles by reducing the lease terms of Economic Land Concessions covering 57000 hectares from 99 to 50 years;
- Contributing to the land policy white paper, which was subsequently adopted by the Government;
- Actively involved in a process to revoke the land licences of 15 companies, with many others forced to review their work-plans to ensure that local communities land rights were not being abused.
What is a National Engagement Strategy? Learn more HERE!
Pheap Sochea| NES Facilitator
Over the last few decades, fundamental issues have emerged as a result of the weak enforcement of land laws and the ways in which these laws are implemented. As a result, land conflicts have escalated across the country. For example, Cambodian peasants occupy only about 3 million hectares of arable land, while more than 4 million hectares (or 73%) are controlled by companies and a small group of people in the form of concessions. This small group have received large-scale land and mineral concessions from the government, though the exact scale of these concessions is not known due to a lack of data held by government agencies, and also a lack of access to such information. Much of the data held on forest and land concessions comes from NGOs working on these issues, but controversy is often raised when such agencies releases this information. For example, ADHOC and Licadho have produced detailed case studies of land grabs and land conflicts in Cambodia, but such information is often rejected by government agencies working on the same issues.
Amid rapid land development, land conflicts and conflicts over natural resources have reached a critical level, and are increasingly dominating the political and human rights agendas in Cambodia.
Through the country strategy policy work will be complemented by field actions with direct target groups, mostly contributing to enhancing the capacities of communities and its partners to advocate and improve partnership between CSOs and government institutions on land sectors. More specifically, for 2016/17, the strategy will focus, among other things, on the following areas:
- Enforcement of the cancellation of the ELCs in a fair manner;
- Consult and amend the draft law on Ägricultural Land Use Management" to ensure that there is coordination with the recently approved White Paper on Land Policy;
- Jointly conduct awareness raising and training on the White Paper on Land Policy with the government;
- Working with local authorities and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the land administration to support the establishment and official land registration of the target communities.