PHNOM PENH, (Khmer Times) — Around 400 young people from different universities gathered today to conduct a youth forum on “good governance in the extractive industry sector”. The event was organised by the Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP) at The National Institute of Education.
The purpose of this forum was to raise awareness among the youth or the country about extractive industries in Cambodia, their benefits and possible impact, and the role youth can play in encouraging transparency within that sector.
Social Development Researcher, Mr. Kem Ley said, “There are a lot of natural resources in Cambodia, and in particular there is great potential for the exploration and mining of gold and oil for gasoline. This could have great benefits for the country’s economic development, but if the Cambodian government manages these resources without transparency and accountability, it could have a strong negative impact on our environment, economy and the quality of life of local people.”
“It’s very important that Cambodian people embrace transparency and accountability in our society, so we need Cambodian youth to all join together to raise awareness of the social, economic and political issues,” he said.
“Now our country is exploring for oil offshore, so Cambodian students should select their major studies at the universities with this in mind, or enquire about scholarships for studying abroad in disciplines that are relevant to the technical side of mining.”
According to Ms. Chhat Srey Mech, a student at the Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC), “Nowadays very few Cambodian youths study in technical fields related to the extractive industries sector, therefore our country has a real shortage of information necessary to keep the people informed in a transparent and accountable way.”
The Executive Director of (YRDP), Mr. Cheang Sokha, said “In 2012, we only had about four percent of around 4.3 million Cambodian young people that had access to information relating to the extractive industries sector, so we need to have more educated people entering this sector in order to develop our economy, while maintaining our social wellbeing.”