The first meeting of the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) was held at the Ministry of Environment on 31 August 2016 under chairmanship of H.E. Say Samal, Minister of Environment and NCSD chairman. This meeting brought together for the first time senior government representatives at the central and provincial to review and decide on a wide range of agenda items such as: NCSD logo, structure and subsidiary bodies, rules and procedures, priority strategic programmes, as well as to hear the updates on the National Environmental Strategy and Action Plan (NESAP) and the Environmental Code.
In his welcoming address to the 61 members of the Council, H.E. Say Samal, Minister of Environment and NCSC Chair, noted that the institutional reform has led to the establishment of the NCSD in May 2015 as a policy making body, which is a significant step to promote sustainable development, ensuring economic, environmental, social and cultural balance of the nation. He further highlighted immediate priorities for NCSD to discuss in this meeting. He also pointed out the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination among concerned stakeholders as a necessary factor that will ensure work efficiency and overall success of the Council. He finally called for the steadfast support from all NCSD representatives, at the central and sub-national levels, to ensure sustainable development for all in Cambodia.
Council members were engaged in very productive discussions on key agenda items, which lay the foundations for the way NCSD will operate in the future, ensuring that it fulfills its mandate effectively and efficiently. Some of the results of this first meeting include:
- Approval of the NCSD structure, with the designation of two central advisory bodies, Senior Officials Group and Strategic Environmental Assessment Committee, and with Provincial Groups chaired by Provincial Governors ensuring the active participation of provincial departments in fulfilling the NCSD work;
- Seven Technical Working Groups (TWGs) were established as an integral part of the NCSD structure to coordinate and provide support to the development and implementation of legal, policy and regulatory frameworks, as well as research, education and training, exchange of technologies and innovation and dissemination to promote sustainable development. The TWGs now created focus on the following areas: Climate Change; Sustainable Cities; Sustainable Energy; Sustainable Consumption and Production; Biodiversity, Access and Benefit Sharing, and Biosafety; Science, Technology and Innovation; and Nuclear Energy;
- Discussion of the NCSD logo and rules and procedures;
- NCSD priority actions for 2016-2018 were identified on a number of areas, including sustainable cities, sustainable energy, climate change responses, biodiversity conservation, science and green technology, and finalization of the NESAP and the Environmental Code.
NCSD members also took note of the progress made on the development of NESAP and the Environmental Code and provided various inputs.
It is important to note that NCSD consolidates competencies previously held by four bodies now extinct, namely the National Council of Green Growth and its Secretariat, the National Climate Change Committee and its Secretariat, the National Biosafety Secretariat and the National Biodiversity Steering Committee. This first meeting of the NCSD represents a cornerstone in the implementation of the government’s reform to promote good governance and sustainable development.