Mekong Eye

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Cambodia

Revenue Increases Fourfold in Mining Sector

Non-tax revenue collected from the mining sector increased more than fourfold in 2015 compared with the year before, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Ministry of Mines and Energy. Meng Saktheara, a ministry spokesman, said non-tax revenue rocketed to about $17.25 million in 2015 from just over $4 million in the previous year. These revenues include royalties, land rent, fines and penalties, administration charges and signature bonuses.

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On Energy Policy, Experts and Officials Differ

Experts last week urged Cambodia to move away from large-scale hydropower and coal projects and toward more environmentally friendly sources of power or risk long-term energy insecurity, following the launch of a report by investment and advisory firm Mekong Strategic Partners in Phnom Penh. The report highlights how the increasing affordability of renewable technology combined with an international interest in efficiency and sustainability are leading most countries away from fossil fuels—with Cambodia seemingly heading in the opposite direction.

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Analysis

With AIIB, Nation Diversifies Funding Options

Though it’s extremely early days, experts this week welcomed Cambodia’s membership to the nascent China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), saying it would provide much-needed diversity of funding for the nation’s infrastructure and connectivity needs. Launched in Beijing last weekend, the multilateral development bank aims to support infrastructure growth in the Asia-Pacific region through the provision of loans, and supports China’s ambitious “One Belt, One Road” initiative to boost trade and connectivity across the Eurasian landmass.

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Resource / PR

Open Development Cambodia new Generation 2 website launched

Open Development Cambodia, has launched its new Generation 2 website. On the new website you will find about 100 pages of briefings covering 17 development sectors, an expanded law compendium, a comprehensive listing of ELCs, new maps, and an improved map explorer, as well as the daily news summaries. This makes ODC the first country website to interface with the new regional Open Development Mekong (https://opendevelopmentmekong.net , as part of a platform expansion that will eventually include websites for all five Lower Mekong countries.

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Resource / PR

Report recommends actions to increase Cambodia's renewable energy use

The Cambodian National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD), in collaboration with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partners, launched a report today that highlights Cambodia’s need to set a formal target for renewable energy generation for sustainable and secure economic growth. The independent report entitled “Switching On: Cambodia’s Path to Sustainable Energy Security,” supported by the USAID-funded Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) project, recommends that the Cambodian government clarify laws on renewables – such as rooftop solar power – to supply electricity.

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Solar Power in the Spotlight

The government should invest more in sustainable energy, with a focus on solar power, experts told a conference on energy security yesterday, adding that this could reduce Cambodia’s dependence on large-scale hydropower projects and coal-fired plants. John McGinley, managing director of the Mekong Strategic Partners, told the conference at the Himawari that although solar power would not entirely replace existing energy sources, greater use of solar energy would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. Mr. McGinley added that the installation cost of solar power is affordable compared to large hydropower and coal-fired generators. Cambodia’s electricity is mainly derived from hydropower, coal plants, and imported energy from Thailand and Vietnam. According to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the country’s six hydropower dams generate about 60 percent of total electricity.

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Threats against journalists in Cambodia spike

The Club of Cambodian Journalists announced over the weekend that there has been a dramatic rise in threats against journalists this year, with a parallel increase in arrests and legal challenges, The Phnom Penh Post reported. According to a CCJ statement issued on Saturday, there have so far been 12 cases against journalists this year, compared to four in 2014. Some journalists were beaten up and arrested and detained, and in some cases equipment including cameras and voice recorders was confiscated, it said. Five journalists were sued this year, compared to just two in 2014, it added.

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