Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry throws weight behind wetlands plan

Ministry throws weight behind wetlands plan

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Birds nest in the evening at Boeung Slae lake in Prey Veng province’s Ba Phnom district on Wednesday. Ministry of Environment

Ministry throws weight behind wetlands plan

At a consultative meeting with the Prey Veng provincial administration on Thursday, the Ministry of Environment expressed support for its initiative to turn the wetlands at Boeung Slae lake, in Ba Phnom district’s Batheay commune, into a protected area.

The decision was made as thousands of species of animal and plant life that are listed as endangered and under threat can be found in the area.

The meeting was attended by the ministry’s secretary of state Srun Darith, provincial deputy governor Lieng Sreymol, specialists from relevant ministries and institutions, and representatives of the provincial administration and communities.

Sreymol said at the meeting that the ecosystem in the area played an important role and was a source of water for the people who lived around it.

Residents of 14 communes used the lake to irrigate dry-season paddy fields. The lake had enabled them to cultivate their crops twice or three times a year.

“As population growth increases around the Boeung Slae lake, they have cleared flooded forest land to cultivate crops. So [the administration] calls for Boeung Slae be designated a natural protected area,” he said.

Srun Darith said the endangered and threatened bird species that lived in the area included the Oriental darter, Spot-billed pelican and Lesser adjutant, especially its Spatula sub-species. All the species are continuing to breed near the Boeung Slae area.

He said the ministry intended to conserve the area’s biodiversity in the interests of promoting nature tourism in the communities.

“Based on the economic value of such biodiversity, the provincial administration requested the ministry’s collaboration to designate the lake as a natural protected area. We hope this will raise the living standards of the local communities who can earn a sustainable income,” Darith said.

He said designating the lake as a natural protected area would draw the participation of the local communities to protect its resources.

“The ministry unanimously supported our initiatives to designate the lake as a natural protected area to ensure that the resources at Boeung Slae will be protected and preserved for the sake of developing local communities now and in the future,” he said.

Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on Thursday that the ministry would prepare the procedures to request the government to issue a sub-decree designating Boeung Slae as a natural protected area.

“Once it has been designated as such, we will prepare procedures to further protect and conserve some [areas]. So, we will keep the area intact. Hunting and catching animals in the area would become illegal,” he said.

Doung Sophors, the project officer for Woman, an organisation that has worked to conserve Boeung Slae area since 2011, said the surface of the lake consisted of more than 2,000ha in the commune. In addition to its large surface, the area also had higher ground and sparse and flooded forests.

“As an organisation that works to conserve communities and residents in the Boeung Slae area, I’m happy that the ministry will request the government to designate the area as a natural protected one,” Sophors said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to

  • Hun Sen, ministers, officials donate salaries in virus fight

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior government officials have decided to donate their salaries to the National Committee for Combating Covid-19 in support of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Hun Sen announced in an April 1 letter that because the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia