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Interest in Ratanakkirii’s Yeak Loam lake worries conservation committee

Interest in Ratanakkirii’s Yeak Loam lake worries conservation committee

Photo by: David Boyle

A man sits beside Yeak Loam lake in Ratanakkiri province’s Banlung district last week.

A COMMITTEE charged with managing Ratanakkiri’s Yeak Loam lake is preparing to send a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen today expressing concerns about what it perceives to be increased interest in developing the Banlung district attraction for commercial purposes.
Committee members have said in recent days that their fears for the lake area were heightened by a three-day provincial development trade fair, which concluded on Monday.

The letter will voice concern that a land-management agreement negotiated in 1998, which grants management rights over the lake to the Yeak Loam Conservation and Recreation Committee for 25 years, will not be honoured, said Sovann Hean , a member of the committee, which is comprised of seven people who live near the lake.

“We want the prime minister to help maintain the lake and give more support to the community to control this tourism site,” Sovann Hean said.
He also expressed concern that efforts to conserve the lake would be threatened if its management fell into private hands.

“Our community is managing it well. There are many trees, and when private companies see nature like this they want to invest in it and upgrade it and make it more modern,” he said.

Pav Hamphan, Ratanakkiri provincial governor, said Monday that the government had no intention of discarding the management agreement, noting that officials had respected the committee’s wishes to rebuff past expressions of interest by private developers.

“Previously, there was some interest to invest, but the community did not agree,” he said.

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