Global Programs Blog

International Field Placement

Marializa Kelly (JD '15)
Vishnu Law Group
Phnom Penh, Cambodia


Mari Kelly in Cambodia at Vishnu Law GroupTexas A&M University School of Law graduate, Marializa Kelly (JD ’15), joins the public interest law firm Vishnu Law Group in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for three months (late September through December 2016). While there, Mari will work with the team led by International Advisor Brian Rohan to complete a draft environmental code for Cambodia. The draft code is scheduled for completion before the end of 2016. Mari’s placement is among the first Texas A&M University School of Law international field placements and is partially sponsored by the School of Law’s Global Law Program.


Current Post:

National Consultation Workshop

The past few weeks were very busy because the drafting team was working hard to get Draft 6 of the Environmental Code out for public comment. As part of the drafting team, I spent those three weeks writing content for the Code, incorporating feedback from previous drafts, working with experts to get more technical information, editing content for clarity, and ensuring definitions are consistent throughout the Code.

All this work involved many late nights, excessive amount of caffeine, a mild case of carpel tunnel, and most importantly, lots of collaboration with colleagues on the drafting team.

The Environmental Code drafting process is transparent and involves public participation. Last week Vishnu Law group worked with the Ministry of Environment to host a National Consultation Workshop for the Environmental Code.

Officially titled "3rd National Consultation Workshop on the Draft National Resource and Environmental Code of Cambodia," this workshop consisted of presentations about the Code drafting progress, specific information about new sections in the Code, and remarks from donors.

This was a very neat experience for me because most of the conference was in Khmer. There was a translator, and I wore headphones to listen to the English translation.

There were over 200 people from different ministries, various Cambodian provinces, and several NGOs. All participants broke into small groups to discuss and comment on sections of the Code.

The drafting team will review all the comments and incorporate feedback into the drafting process as we work to finish the Code.

Even though Draft 6 is out for comment, there is still much work to be done. Something I have learned is that, for projects like this, you need to think ahead. Alongside working on the actual Code, we need to prepare for the implementation phase after the Code is codified.

Creating the Environmental Code is a great feat, but making sure there are plans in place to implement it and funding to make those plans happen are necessary tasks to make sure this process goes smoothly.

working with NGOs in Cambodia

​Listening to a presentation at one of the NGOs we work with on the project.

Cambodia-conf-intlgroup

Selfies are big in Cambodia so we had to take one at the workshop.

Mari's badge for the workshop

Name tags for the ​workshop! The right is in Khmer, the local language..

Code drafting team at the workshop

This is the drafting team. Members are from Cambodia, Australia, France, Canada and the United States.