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Govt to sign global wetland convention

Govt to sign global wetland convention

C AMBODIA is forming a National Wetland Committee and planning to sign an

international convention on preserving the world's wetland

areas.

Cambodia's wetlands are considered environmentally and

ecologically important because they sustain fisheries and provide flooding

protection.

Sabu Bacha, Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of

Environment, said Cambodia's lack of wetlands policy jeopardized the

environment.

At a three-day wetlands seminar in Phnom Penh this month, it

was announced that a National Wetland Committee would be established to form

much-needed policies.

Cambodia also expects to sign the Ramsar

Convention, to seek foreign assistance for the preservation and sustainable use

of wetland resources, by the end of the year.

The Ramsar organization,

headquartered in Switzerland and with 80 member countries, promotes

international cooperation on the protection of waterfowl and other wetland

species.

Sabu Bacha said Ramsar experts would visit Cambodia to advise

the government on wet lands management.

Places such as the Tonle Chmar

Lake, adjoining the Tonle Sap Lake, and Kapi Island in Koh Kong province would

be declared specially-protected wetland areas.

Funds would be sought from

foreign donors to establish wetlands projects to protect nature and attract

tourists.

The government did not want to hurt residents who profited from

wetlands, he said, but to teach them "how to fish

[sustainably]".

Minister of Environment Mok Mareth said the Phnom Penh

seminar discussed the importance of wetlands and the problems of managing

them.

Cambodia's wetland areas are located in four major places: north of

the Mekong River, from Kratie province to the Laotian border; the floodplain

areas of the Mekong River, from Kompong Cham to the Vietnamese border; the Tonle

Sap Lake and neighboring areas; and the country's southern and western

coastlines.

They include sandy beaches, reef flats, lakes, flooded

forest, swamps, rivers and reservoirs, mudflats, seagrass and mangroves, and

rice fields.

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