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The initial cluster convention

The Initial Cluster Convention was held on September 13, 2022, at the FHI 360 Office in Phnom Penh, with 29 participants (10 females), including 06 indigenous peoples. The convention brought together media organizations, civil society organizations (CSOs), and community-based organizations (CBOs) working on indigenous peoples, natural resources, forestry, land, and the environment.

Open Development Cambodia (ODC) organized the convention, which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Family Health International (FHI 360) as part of the Civil Society Support (CSS) Project: Cluster Anchor Grants. ODC is the anchor and collaborates with three cluster members: CamboJA, the Conserve Indigenous Peoples Language Organization (CIPL), and Young Eco Ambassadors (YEA). The project aims to make natural resource management (NRM) more sustainable, inclusive, and participatory by incorporating Indigenous Peoples’ needs and concerns. The projects contain 26 major activities. One of the important parts is the convention, which clusters members and the host of their network to share lessons learned, information, and prioritized issues on natural resource management, environment, forestry, land, indigenous peoples, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The cluster members will be integrated through physical meetings as a project initiative. ODC hosted the initial cluster convention, which brought together all cluster members and networks to build networks, learn from one another, map the effective strategy, and pave the way for future NRM advocacy activity in Cambodia. As a result, the initial cluster convention has four core objectives, including:

  • Explaining the nature of cluster formation and the roles of each cluster
  • Create a friendly learning and sharing environment for cluster members and their networks
  • Keep current priority environmental issues, as well as environmental laws and regulations, up to date
  • Encourage cluster members and stakeholders to work together.

Natural resource management issues are arising in the country, particularly land grab and encroachment, economic land concession, communal land titling, forestry, and environment and social fund, among others. On the other hand, the prioritized issue could be related to forestry. Many CSOs fail to focus on the Investment Law, which is at the heart of the development project, causing many problems for local communities. The law should be thoroughly reviewed, particularly regarding indigenous peoples and natural resource management. If the law is not carefully studied, residents may face difficulties if there are any development projects or investments in their areas. The communities lack precise information on the development project and strategy that address the issues. Natural resources are indigenous peoples’ last hope; therefore, they must be protected. As a result, indigenous peoples should broaden their alliances in each campaign and workshop.

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Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) partner meeting with the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment

On 20 October 2023, the ODC team traveled to Utrecht City, the Netherlands, to engage in a crucial meeting with Dr. Arend Kolhoff, Technical Secretary of International Cooperation at the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment. ODC has been collaborating closely with the commission on providing inputs to the draft general guidelines for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and SEA for sand mining along the Mekong and Bassac Rivers in Cambodia. The primary objective of this meeting was to critically update the progress and challenges that have emerged within the area of SEA in recent times. The discussion focused on the ongoing work regarding SEA within the Cambodian context. The National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) of the Ministry of Environment of the Kingdom of Cambodia established the National Training Team on Strategic Environmental Assessment (NTTSEA) on 20 December 2022. The team is responsible for arranging and preparing training materials, disseminating SEA knowledge at national and sub-national levels, and raising awareness through a range of meetings, training sessions, and workshops. In addition to their educational activities, NTTSEA has mobilized resources and forged partnerships with NGOs and other stakeholders, in a determined effort to foster a comprehensive training program on SEA. Stay tuned for more updates on this journey towards sustainable development!

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Cybersecurity Training

On 04th July 2023, Open Development Cambodia (ODC) conducted training on cybersecurity for the CSS-cluster members and their networks. The training course aims to raise awareness of the cluster member on cyber security as well as digital security including password management, safe internet browsing, email security, and mobile security. We also provided participants with the essential skill to cope with issues related to cyberattacks and safeguard personal data and accounts. There are 32 participants (12 females) joining the training from ADHOC, NEP, YEA, Epic Arts, CHRAC, SVC, Bophana Center, CENTRAL, LoveIsDiversity, and other networks. To assess capacity, all trainees are required to complete the pre-test. Mr. NGET Moses, Digital Security Consultant, asked each trainee to introduce themselves, their position, organization, and their expectations of the training at the start of the training in order to understand their background and needs. He started the lesson on “password management” by providing an overview of passwords, creating strong passwords, and password managers. The questions were discussed around the topic with actual examples. He continued to the next lesson “safe internet browsing” which highlighted the threats and how to do safe browsing and virtual private network. Email security and mobile security are also very important for trainees. In this session, the trainer demonstrated how to secure mobile devices and emails. The session concludes with a summary of the lessons and a post-test to assess the trainees’ understanding. The evaluation was also requested in order to improve training. One of our trainees, SENG Sokcheat, a member of LoveIsDiversity express, “I think this training is very important as it helps us protect our privacy from online scammers. Also, everyone who is using social media, internet, or other online services should join this training.” The training was conducted under the Learning Platform (LP) project which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Family Health International (FHI 360) as part of the Civil Society Support (CSS) Project.

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Testimonial: Young indigenous woman and citizen journalist think about the mobile report training

Would you like to know what our young indigenous woman and citizen journalist think about the mobile report training? Let’s have a look at their testimonials together! This activity is under the Civil Society Support Activity: Cluster Anchor Grants, founded by USAID Cambodia through FHI 360.