23.05.2011 -

Providing assistance to the Royal Government for the development of a legal and institutional framework for the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve

Following the inscription of the Tonle Sap as Biosphere Reserve, UNESCO has provided support to the Royal Government for the development of a legal and institutional framework that would serve as the basis to implement the Biosphere Reserve concepts.

In this regard, a Royal Decree for the Establishment of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve was adopted in April 2001. The critical elements of this decree are the formulation of directions and management objectives for each zone (core area, buffer zone and transition area) and the agreement to establish an inter-ministerial coordination body and on the institutional arrangements for the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.

Subsequently, a Sub-decree on the Establishment, Role and Functions of a Secretariat for the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve was adopted in September 2001. The major role of this Secretariat is to facilitate co-ordination and to strengthen co-operation among national and international agencies, provincial authorities, and civil society in the protection and sustainable management of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. It serves as an information-clearing house and facilitates exchange of information between various stakeholders and institutions. The Secretariat co-ordinates and devises integrated strategies for sustainable development and conservation of natural resources within the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.

However, the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Secretariat is still in its early stages and requires further support for consolidation. In this regard, a new integrated “Tonle Sap Environmental Management Project” jointly funded by ADB and UNDP-GEF constitutes a major opportunity to strengthen the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Secretariat. The goal of this major project will be sustainable management and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. Its objective will be to enhance systems and develop the capacity for natural resource management co-ordination and planning, community-based natural resource management, and biodiversity conservation in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve. Together with FAO and UNDP, UNESCO will be responsible for the implementation of a number of activities within the overall project, and specifically for the formulation and implementation of a national environmental education and awareness campaign, and for the establishment of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Environmental Information Database.




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