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A First Multinational Biodiversity Forum on Natural Resources Conservation was Held in Cambodia

A first two-day multinational biodiversity forum on natural resources conservation from July 19-20 was held at the Cambodiana hotel by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and sponsored by the U.N. Development Project (UNDP); The forum looks at the development of local biodiversity preservation programs focusing on important natural resources issues such as Tonle Sap lake, Kravanh mountain range (cardamom), Mekong river, and Northern and Eastern Plains that are being threatened.

The goal of the project is to reduce poverty and better use of natural resources.

The minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Chan Sarun says that the forum's goal is to preserve Cambodia's diverse natural resources for future sustainable use.

Cambodia is believed to be a country rich with multitude natural resources such as forestries, wild animals, with 720 kinds of birds, 300 kinds of butterflies, insects, and 2300 kinds of plants.

Recommendations from the forum will be sent to the government to improve conservation effectiveness, and partnership conservation resource mobilization.

Mr. Chan Sarun says that a number of animals in Cambodia are almost extinct, such as Ko Prey or wild oxen, rhinoceroses, elephants, tigers and gibbons.

Environment minister Mok Mareth says that 2006-2010 national strategic plans are set to protect the environment pushing for development.

In the past, in its role as an expert institution on environment protection and natural resources, this ministry tried to cooperate with regional authorities and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries with good results, with many projects to protect Cambodia's unique ecosystems, and the expansion of many new forest areas conservation and fish conservation sites.

Deputy Prime Minister, Sar Kheng, one of the guest speakers at the forum, says that there are many problems facing Cambodia. He says that with the biodiversity issues on natural resources conservation, Cambodian officials have to think about poor people in the rural areas, as many of whom rely on those natural resources for their daily lives, while Cambodia wants to conserve its ecosystems.