Cambodia Legal Alert: Accreditation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Consultant Companies in Cambodia

Following the promulgation of the Environmental and Natural Resources Code dated 29 June 2023 (“Environmental Code”) and the requirements of the Ministry of Environment (“MOE”), the MOE issued Prakas 08 on 02 February 2024 outlining the Conditions and Procedures regarding Accreditation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) Consultant Companies (“Prakas 08”). This Prakas comes into effect from 2 February 2024.

Prakas 08 establishes a legal framework for the conditions, procedures, and qualifications that the EIA consultant companies must satisfy to obtain the accreditation in relation to EIA related works. It also outlines the conditions under which the MOE may suspend and revoke the accreditation of the EIA consultant companies.

According to Prakas 08, only a company duly accredited by the MOE as a licensed EIA consultant company through a letter of approval is entitled to conduct research, studies, and preparation of EIA reports for clients in Cambodia.

While Prakas 08 does not explicitly clarify whether a foreign company is allowed to independently carry out EIA services or if there is any restriction or prohibition for the foreign company to apply for such license. However, based on the plain text of Prakas 08, it seems to suggest that a foreign company is allowed to be registered and accredited to carry out the EIA consulting services if all eligibility, qualification requirements are met and must cooperate with a licensed EIA consultant company to provide the EIA services.

As part of the accreditation requirements, applicants must submit, among others, main supporting documents:

–  corporate documents (ideally, certificate of incorporation, articles of incorporation)
–  confirmation letter of the company’s address issued by the local authorities,
–  company’s structure,
–  company profile, and
–  paying public service fees for accreditation by the MOE.

The MOE may require other supporting documents during the application submission process.

For the MOE to approve the licensing application, the EIA consultant company applicant must have a corporate management structure that is composed at least of a director, a general manager, a technical team leader, a technical expert and a technical assistant that meet certain qualifications as detailed under Articles 11-15 of this Prakas. In case of any change of this composition, the company must submit a written notice to the MOE no later than 30 working days of the change.

The letter of approval (EIA license) is valid for five years from its issuance date, renewable via re-registration process within at least three months before its expiration date.

The MOE is entitled to suspend the letter of approval for a period of six months to three years or revoke it if the EIA consultant company violates the provisions outlined in Prakas 08.

For compliance purposes, any EIA consultant company already registered with the MOE prior to August 2023 must obtain accreditation from the MOE. If this accreditation is not successful, such EIA consultant company must complete its ongoing EIA works within six months from 2 February 2024.

Should you need any further information or legal support, please reach out to us via the contacts below.

Davy Kong, Co-Head of Real Estate and Construction Practice, [email protected]

Leung Seng, Co-Head of Real Estate and Construction Practice, [email protected]