Press Release: 16th November 2009
Cambodia is one of the fastest growing economies in the ASEAN grouping with an enviable growth rate of about 10% a year from 2004 to 2007 and a respectable 5% achieved in 2008 in the face of the global economic downturn. This growth has largely been driven by expansion in the garment, construction, agriculture and tourism sectors, although there is also significant potential in the oil and gas, timber, gemstones, iron ore, manganese, phosphates and hydropower sectors. The garment sector is particularly important, employing more than 320,000 people nationally and currently accounting for more than 85% of Cambodia’s exports.
Exploitable oil deposits were found beneath Cambodia’s territorial waters in 2005 and mining is also attracting significant investor interest, particularly in the northern parts of the country, and the government is actively promoting the opportunities for mining bauxite, gold, iron and gems. The prospects for continued development look good, particularly now that Cambodia has signed a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States. The tourism industry has also continued to grow rapidly, with foreign arrivals exceeding 2 million per year in 2007-08.
The natural resource wealth of Cambodia should ultimately secure the country’s economic future, but with their exploitation comes the very real risk of severe environmental degradation. The oil and gas, minerals extraction and hydro-power sectors have the potential to cause severe ecological damage if their exploitation is not sensitively planned, managed and monitored. Illegal logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand have already resulted in habitat loss, declining biodiversity and soil erosion. Fish stocks are also declining because of illegal fishing and overfishing.
Unbridled and unchecked development has the potential to pollute land, soil and water and threaten the health and livelihoods of the very people it was meant to benefit. Fortunately Cambodia appears to be waking to the importance of protecting the natural environment, and the government is beginning to develop a comprehensive body of domestic legislation to deal with conservation and pollution issues. The primary environmental legislation in Cambodia is the ‘Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Management’ (December 1996). This legislation seeks to protect and promote environmental quality and public health through the prevention, reduction and control of pollution, and to ensure that the potential environmental impact of all proposed projects in the Kingdom are assessed and managed in order to promote sustainable conservation, development, management and use of the natural resources of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
The ‘Sub-Decree on Environmental Impact Assessment Process’ (August 1999) details projects that require an Initial Environmental Impact Assessment (IEIA) and/or a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be undertaken, and the qualifying project list is fairly comprehensive. The EIA reports must be reviewed by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) prior to being submitted to the Royal Government for a decision, and public participation in the EIA process is encouraged.
SLP Environmental Consultants (Cambodia) offer a comprehensive range of environmental consultancy and sub-consultancy services to support business transactions such as mergers, divestitures and acquisitions. We understand the critical importance of environmental due diligence (also known as Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment) and compliance assessment to the risk and liability management process undertaken for any sensitive business transaction. We are uniquely placed in the Cambodian market to deliver high quality environmental consultancy services as we combine internationally acquired expertise and experience with an in-depth understanding of Cambodia’s regulatory frameworks and cultural sensitivities. This ensures that our reports both conform to international quality standards, such as ISO 14015 and ASTM E1527-05, whilst also addressing compliance with local regulatory requirements. Our advice is always carefully tailored, commercially focused and clearly communicated, enabling our clients’ to manage uncertainties and make real-world decisions within challenging timeframes.
We can also provide Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment (Phase 2 ESA) services to identify the nature, extent and sources of environmental contamination as well as the degree of risk to sensitive environmental and human receptors such as site users and groundwater quality. Where the Phase 2 ESA indicates that unacceptable risks are present we can also provide Phase 3 Land Contamination Remediation services to clean-up contaminated soils and groundwater to safe levels.
We have significant experience in the property, construction, manufacturing, petro-chemical, pharmaceutical, energy, waste, transport, minerals, telecoms, water and textile sectors and our satisfied clients include; developers, funders, investors, insurers, lawyers, risk & liability management firms, global environmental consultancies and numerous blue chip corporations. We have a proven track record in successfully delivering projects in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
SLPs Directors are Chartered Environmentalists (CEnv) and Chartered Scientists (CSci) as well as members of The Due Diligence, Mergers and Acquisitions Professionals and Environmental Compliance Consultants Groups.