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Protected wetlands urged

A new wetland protected area may be implemented in Battambang province following talks between scientists, Asian governments and conservation groups held in Siem Reap this week.

Conservationists at the regional wetlands talks argued that infrastructure development in Cambodia and the region could reverse efforts to manage the region’s vital wetland ecosystems and encourage sustainable development.

The message seems to have been heard, at least by the Ministry of Environment, which yesterday said it would submit a request for the Prek Toal area in Battambang’s Aek Phnom district to be registered as a wetland of international importance, also known as a Ramsar site.

The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty governing the conservation of wetland areas, which Cambodia ratified in 1999. The Kingdom currently has three registered Ramsar sites.

“Prek Toal is a core area that meets with all the requirements of Ramsar,” Srey Sunleang, director of the Department of Wetlands and Coastal Zones at the Ministry of Environment, told the Post.

Chhit Sam Ath, director of the World Wide Fund for Nature-Cambodia, welcomed the move to protect the area. “If this became a Ramsar site, it will be highly protected because protected areas mostly are threathened by dams and illegal actions,” he said.

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