The Ministry of Environment and 300 villagers from natural protection communities across four provinces gathered at Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary this weekend for a tree ceremony calling for the protection of natural resources, ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told The Post on Sunday.
“We have organised this ceremony before, but this year the event drew participation from all Prey Lang Community Networks (PLCN). The main goal of the event is to protect natural resources in Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary for a very long time,” Pheaktra said.
The ministry posted on its official Facebook page that the two-day tree ceremony, held on Saturday and Sunday, was attended by ministry representatives, local community members, students, monks and local and international NGOs.
The event was also attended by 300 villagers from protected communities in Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces.
The tree ceremony was created in cooperation with the UN Development Programme and the PLCN, to encourage forestry awareness between Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary’s communities and strengthen collaboration in nature preservation.
The Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary was founded in May 2016 and covers 431,683ha in Kratie, Kampong Thom, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear provinces.
Pok Hong, a PLCN member from Preah Vihear province, told The Post on Sunday that the tree ceremony intended to protect forests considered sacred by indigenous groups, to encourage people to participate in protecting the forest and to protect biodiversity at the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary.
Vong San, Kbal Khla community head at the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary in Kampong Thom province, said the sanctuary was important as it provides water, reduces climate change and offers natural products the community depends on – such as fruits, vines, mushrooms and rubber plantations.
Khieu Borin, the ministry’s General Department of Local Communities head, told The Post: “This is a historical ceremony organised by PLCN from four different provinces, which has never happened before.”
Borin expressed thanks and applauded the PLCN and government rangers, for working hard to protect, preserve and honour Prey Lang forest.
“We paid close attention to the development of communities in the natural protection area, and since 2017, through wildlife breeding and supplying agriculture equipment at the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary community, we’ve had strong support from them,” he said.