Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tonle Sap reserve proposed

Tonle Sap reserve proposed

Tonle Sap reserve proposed

CAMBODIA has moved a step closer to protecting the Tonle Sap - including Prek Toal

- with the despatch of documents to UNESCO's Paris headquarters seeking nomination

of the lake as a Biosphere Reserve.

Such recognition of the Tonle Sap by the United Nations Educational Scientific and

Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will attract increased international attention and

funding, and help the government's environmental and economic management of the lake,

according to government officials and environmentalists.

"There is worldwide interest in protecting the Great Lake from all illegal activity

and over-exploitation of natural resources," said Minister of Environment Mok

Mareth.

Mareth emphasized the need to strike a balance between the demands of "almost

half our population [who] earn their living from the lake" and the environmental

and historical values of the Tonle Sap.

They proposed a 300,000 hectare reserve, incorporating the lake and its surrounds.

Three core areas would be marked off for special protection, while the remainder

would be zoned into "buffer" and "transition" areas.

The zoning system is appropriate for the Tonle Sap region, which is subject to a

range of uses, said Bernard O'Callaghan, of Wetlands International.

"You have core areas, no-go scientific areas, where research can be conducted

and the habitat remains intact. You have areas of small-scale economic activities,

and other areas of large scale economic activities."

Cambodia is required to establish a national council to manage the reserve and pass

laws before UNESCO can grant the nomination, according to Dr Neou Bonheur, who heads

the Ministry of Environment's technical coordination unit for the Tonle Sap.

If Cambodia's bid to gain the nomination is successful, it could clear the way for

later classification of the core areas as World Heritage Sites, he said.

The core areas - Prek Toal, close to Siem Reap town; Boeung Chmaa, a smaller lake

connected to the Tonle Sap on its eastern shore; and Steung Sen, a river flowing

into the southern reaches of the lake - harbor numerous endangered animal species

as well as unique flooded forests, vital to the productivity of the lake's fisheries,

according to environmentalists.

"These areas were selected not just because they are the least disturbed parts

of the lake but each of them has an individual character," explained David Ashwell,

from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Several bird species, the clouded leopard, civets, the Siamese crocodile, and spotted

cats were identified by Ashwell as threatened.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,