UNESCO and Prek Leap National Institute of Agriculture conduct Seminar to promote scientific cooperation for conservation and sustainable development of Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve

On 14th July 2021, UNESCO and the Prek Leap National Institute of Agriculture (PLNIA) organized an online seminar for the teachers and students of PLNIA, to provide an opportunity to learn about UNESCO’s Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve (TSBR) initiatives. The Seminar advocated for the role of students, as young researchers and scientists, for undertaking quality research for conservation and sustainable development, and enhancing the links between education, research and development of sustainable agriculture in the TSBR.

Over 50 participants attended the seminar, including students and faculty members from PLNIA. The seminar provided a platform for the students to learn about UNESCO’s work in natural sciences, and gain insights into the concept of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. In this context, the seminar focused on the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, where UNESCO is undertaking various conservation and sustainable development initiatives. The students were interactively engaged throughout the Seminar, which generated an insightful discussion on how they can play an active role in sustainably shaping Cambodia’s natural resources and landscapes.

During the Seminar, Dr. Phin Sopheap, Vice Director of PLNIA, emphasised the important role of youth in conservation and natural resources management, and encouraged teachers to propose potential research topics on the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve for student’s dissertation, as it is one of the most varied and productive ecosystems in the world.

Biosphere Reserves are designated as part of UNESCO’s intergovernmental Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, for sustainably managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems. The Tonle Sap Lake was inscribed on the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 1997, and enforced by Royal Decree in 2001.

UNESCO is collaborating with academic and research institutions in Cambodia, to strengthen research on various environmental, socio-economic and cultural aspects of the TSBR, and advocating for quality research on this unique ecosystem. The initiative is undertaken as part of UNESCO’s on-going activities to strengthen conservation and sustainable development at the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, with support from the FAO-CAPFISH-Capture Fisheries Programme, funded by the European Union.

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