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UNESCO assessment of the Kingdom’s wild bee industry positive

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Bee populations across the world are in decline, which causes significant consequences for livelihoods in many communities, especially those who depend directly on natural resources like non-timber forest products. Heng Chivoan

UNESCO assessment of the Kingdom’s wild bee industry positive

UNESCO issued a rapid assessment report titled Beekeeping Ecosystem at Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve in a bid to promote sustainable beekeeping development.

The report was made in cooperation with the Civil Society Alliance Forum (CSAF) of the Council of Ministers, in partnership with the Asian Cultural Council and the Asian Vision Institute.

The report is a first-of-its-kind study of the beekeeping ecosystem, honey production practices and status of bees and bee-activities in the Tonle Sap UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

It identifies new practices with high potential and provides recommendations and guidance for development of sustainable beekeeping in the region.

This report directly complements UNESCO’s ongoing Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Project, funded by the EU, to strengthen conservation and sustainable livelihoods.

In a press release, UNESCO said bees play a central role as pollinators, which is essential in sustaining the natural environment.

However, bee populations across the world are in decline, which causes significant consequences for livelihoods in many communities, especially those who depend directly on natural resources like non-timber forest products.

It is of prime importance to conserve bees and their ecosystems by promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate, while also being environmentally sustainable.

Following the launch of the report, UNESCO will work with the government and its development partners by promoting policy dialogue to foster the sustainable beekeeping ecosystem in Cambodia.

It will also develop a community-of-practice of beekeepers and relevant stakeholders, providing pedagogical training and knowledge support with awareness raising campaigns to sensitise beekeepers and honey-hunters on sustainable beekeeping and honey hunting practices, said the press release.

Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO representative to Cambodia, said at the launching event that the wild honey value-chain provides an important source of livelihoods for many Cambodian communities dependent on natural resources.

He said Cambodia has high potential in developing the wild honey value-chain and improving access to high-value markets of other countries.

Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhaily, who is also chairman of the inter-ministerial committee for coordinating the implementation of the Techo Village 100 project, said at the event that the report will become the foundation for the conservation and development of beekeeping in the Kingdom.

“The experiences highlighted in the report are a valuable contribution to the sustainable wild honey harvesting and wild beekeeping industries in Cambodia and for the development of local wild bee breeds,” he said.

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