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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
Name of conflict:New airport in Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia
State or province:Mondulkiri Province
Location of conflict:Ou Reang District
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The 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:300
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:40
Start of the conflict:02/06/2019
Relevant government actors:Government of Cambodia
Mondulkiri Provincial Government
Ou Reang District
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Economy and Finance
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of mobilization:Street 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
Other Health impactsIllnesses caused by pollutants emitted by aircraft
Socio-economical 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
Other socio-economic impactsLoss of indigenous Bunong people's burial grounds
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain: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 & Materials

[1] Feasibility study on airport construction in Mondulkiri Province unveiled, Construction & Property, 22 April 2019
[click to view]

[2] New airport study set for 2019, Phnom Penh Post, 23 April 2019
[click to view]

[3] Government unveils airport plans in the Northeast, Khmer Times, 23 April 2019
[click to view]

[4] Mondulkiri families concerned for land as airport work begins, Phnom Penh Post, 4 June 2019
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded, email: [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:4303
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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