New airport in Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia

Soil excavation to prepare for construction of a new airport began before authorities had discussed the matter with villagers, who say the works encroached on land used for growing cashew nuts and peppers, and burials grounds indigenous Bunong people


On 22nd April 2019 the Cambodian government unveiled a project for construction of as airport in the Mondulkiri province, to boost tourism development, agro-tourism and agro-industry. The project aims to provide air links between the north-eastern region of the country and other provinces. Ministry of Tourism spokesperson Mr. Chuk Chumnor said that the project masterplan, including a feasibility study, would be wrapped up by the end of the year, and that the ministry would discuss the matter with civil aviation and local authorities. Mondulkiri provincial governor Mr. Svay Sam Eang said: “The province has land space for constructing it already and it is located in Ou Reang district and the expenditure of construction would depend on the national level.” He also said construction of the new airport would help development in the tourism sector in particular due to the area’s eco-tourism potential. In March, Prime Minister Samdech Techno Hun Sen said there was a need to construct an airport in the area because it would become a major economic hub in the northeast of the country. There is a disused airport in the Mondulkiri province which is being redeveloped into a park.[1]

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Basic Data
NameNew airport in Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia
ProvinceMondulkiri Province
SiteOu Reang District
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Ports and airport projects
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Cambodian government said the new airport would boost tourism development, agro-tourism and agro-industry in the area.[1] Mondulkiri province governor said the airport would help develop the tourism sector in particular due to the area’s eco-tourism potential. A Ministry of Tourism spokesperson said the airport would handle international and domestic flights.[3]
Project Area (in hectares)300
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population40
Start Date02/06/2019
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Cambodia

Mondulkiri Provincial Government

Ou Reang District

Ministry of Tourism

Ministry of Economy and Finance
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of MobilizationStreet protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Soil erosion
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Malnutrition
OtherIllnesses caused by pollutants emitted by aircraft
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts
OtherLoss of indigenous Bunong people's burial grounds
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Soil excavation to prepare ground for construction of the new airport commenced before completion of the masterplan and feasibility study. Without warning villagers a digger began excavation works and about 40 residents say the works encroached on private and community land used for cultivation and burial grounds. The Ou Reang district governor denied the works had encroached on their land, but in response to protest excavations works have been temporarily halted.
Sources and Materials

[1] Feasibility study on airport construction in Mondulkiri Province unveiled, Construction & Property, 22 April 2019
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[2] New airport study set for 2019, Phnom Penh Post, 23 April 2019
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[3] Government unveils airport plans in the Northeast, Khmer Times, 23 April 2019
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[4] Mondulkiri families concerned for land as airport work begins, Phnom Penh Post, 4 June 2019
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Other Documents

Excavation work for new airport Local families say excavation work is being carried out on private and community land and are concerned they will lose their plantations and burial land. Source: Phnom Penh Post, 4th June 2019
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorRose Bridger, Stay Grounded, email: [email protected]
Last update06/07/2019