UNESCO conducts consultations at core areas of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve to strengthen conservation and sustainable livelihoods

UNESCO, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, conducted consultations with local communities and officials at the Boeung Tonle Chhmar and Stung Sen core areas of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.

Enlisted as part of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 1997, Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve is an internationally-recognized learning site for sustainable development. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, enforced by Royal Decree of the Royal Government of Cambodia in 2001, is a unique ecosystem, harbouring rich biodiversity, and providing significant socio-economic and cultural values for Cambodia. It is intricately linked to the Mekong river system, through an annual flood-pulse which causes the Tonle Sap lake to expand nearly four-times its size during the wet season.

The objective of the consultations was to undertake a situation-analysis, and engage with local communities and officials at the core areas of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, to promote conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and sustainable livelihoods development, through a scientific solutions-based approach. During the consultations, the team met with provincial, district and commune leadership, officials from provincial administration, rangers, local police, and members of the local community, including fishermen. Representatives of Institute of Technology of Cambodia, and the Pannasastra University of Cambodia, joined the consultations at the Stung Sen core area, to share scientific insights.

During the interaction with fishermen and members of the Community Protected Area (CPA) in Balot, Peam Bang Commune, the participants indicated that the fish catch has been declining in the last three years due to low level of water in the wet season, flooded forest fires in the dry season, and climate change. Fishing is the primary occupation of communities in and around the core areas, which are increasingly vulnerable due to depleting natural resources.

Comments are closed.