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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

ADB has offer USD 10 million for fishery development in Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided some 10 million U.S. dollars of loan in the past years to empower the fishery communities in the Tonle Sap Lake area, officials said Monday.

"We got about 2 million U.S. dollars (in revenues) from fresh water fish products each year from the lake," partially as result of the help from ADB, said Nao Thouk, director of fisheries department of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Thanks to years of consistent development with the help of ADB, an average family in the Tonle Sap Lake area can now catch some 600 kg to 800 kg of fish each year and over 1 million people directly benefit from the lake, he said on the sidelines of a national forum on the development of the Tonle Sap Lake.

The forum was organized by ADB and the Cambodian government and attended by about 300 people, including diplomatic corps and top government officials.

Also at the forum, C. Lawrence Greenwood, deputy president of ADB, said that Cambodians' fortunes depend on the lake's reliable ebb and flow and it provides the daily sustenance and livelihood for over 1 million people, many of them among the poorest in the kingdom.

According to official statistics, the lake area boasts about 200 kinds of fish, 42 kinds of reptiles, 225 species of birds, 44 types of mammals and 200 kinds of plants.

Source: Xinhua

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Cambodian leader warns that development poses threat to great lake

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Cambodia's prime minister warned Monday that increasing population and over-exploitation of fisheries and wildlife pose a dire threat to his country's Tonle Sap, or "Great Lake," the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.

"The lake is facing a serious threat of over-exploitation and its ecosystem has become quite fragile," Prime Minister Hun Sen said at a national forum on the Tonle Sap held in Phnom Penh.

"Honestly, if this problem is not addressed decisively and soon enough, Cambodia could face a serious environmental disaster," he warned.

He said the clearing of nearby forest land for large-scale agriculture is resulting in the seepage of fertilizer and pesticides into the lake, creating serious environmental problems.

Tonle Sap is 200 kilometers (120 miles) northwest of Phnom Penh and touches six provinces.

Hun Sen said the lake's basin is home to about 4 million of Cambodia's 14 million people, and that about 40 percent of the country's population derive some benefit from its resources.

The lake harbors a rich biosphere of more than 200 species of fish, 42 types of reptiles, 225 species of birds and 46 kinds of mammals.

C. Lawrence Greenwood, vice president of the Asian Development Bank, said weak governance, severe poverty and social inequity, and conflicts over management of fisheries and natural resources pose serious threats to the lake's ecosystem and the livelihoods of people who depend on it.

"The great lake provides daily sustenance and livelihoods for over 1 million people, many of whom are among the poorest in Cambodia," Greenwood said at the seminar.

Tonle Sap covers approximately 250,000 hectares (618,000 acres) during the dry season and expands to about 1.25 million hectares (3 million acres) during the rainy season..

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Children's drawings depich deforestation in Cambodia

PRESS RELEASE - Washington, D.C., March 5, 2007 -- About 100 Cambodian schoolchildren have called on Khmer government authorities to put an end to illegal, widespread deforestation near their school district, 70 kilometers from the capital, Phnom Penh. The children ages 10 to 16, attend primary school in the Kompong Speu Oral District, which borders on a wildlife sanctuary.

The Voice of America’s Khmer Service reports the children have sent authorities scores of drawings and cartoons depicting the destruction: men wielding axes, chain saws, and machetes, felling trees, stripping the land clean, and killing elephants and other wildlife.

VOA’s Khmer Service has posted a sampling of the drawings on its web site: http://www.voanews.com/khmer/2007-02-28-voa2.cfm

Authorities in Cambodia say the drawings exaggerate the extent of damage being done to the environment. Officials report only a few cases of illegal logging by poachers.

Villagers tell the Voice of America that the children’s illustrated accounts are accurate, adding that the poachers carry machine guns and are members of the armed forces. Many adults and children have submitted petitions to government and non-government agencies asking them to end the destruction.

For more information on the Voice of America Khmer service, which broadcasts live to Cambodia 90 minutes every day, visit: www.voanews.com/khmer.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at 202-203-4959 or E-Mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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Brunei win 2 top places in meeting of teachers

Brunei's representatives to the Microsoft Regional Innovative Teacher's Conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia won first and third places.

The event is a worldwide initiative to empower schools to increase student learning through teacher development and leadership. It was organised in partnership with UNESCO Asia Pacific and Microsoft under the flagship Partners in Learning (PiL) programme.

The representatives were led by Cikgu Hj Yussof bin Hj Metassim, Senior Education Officer from the ICT Department, Ministry of Education, Cikgu Mohd Zamri bin Hj Ismail of Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School and Cikgu Ismail bin Hj Julaihi of PAP Hjh Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah Secondary School.

Cikgu Ismail's group won first place with the project Sim Angkor. Cikgu Zamri's group won third place with the project More Water.

They went on a one-day field trip to the world heritage site of Angkor Wat. They collaborated on a project where teachers from different countries developed specific teaching / learning materials based on their field trip.

More than 150 teachers and 100 senior government and education officials from 22 countries attended the conference.

The innovative teacher's programme helps educators further their professional development, learn from and inspire one another in promoting the creation of exemplary practices, awards software grants, and gives educators access to online learning communities.

It brings together a community of teachers as learners, facilitate the creation of collective knowledge, create a platform for the advancement of best practices and adoption of innovation, provide training and access to technology resources, and deliver integration confidence to teachers using technology in the learning process.

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Canada and Cambodia, co-hsot an international mine conference

PHNOM PENH, Mar 5, 2007. The Cambodia Mine Action Authority and the Embassy of Canada announced that they are to co- host an international mine action conference in Phnom Penh from March 12 to 14, a press release said here on Monday.

The dire consequences that landmines have on a country's economic and social development will be a significant topic of discussion during the conference, which entitled "Mine Action: Implications for Peace and Development", the press release said.

Delegates from across Southeast Asia, as well as participants from Europe and the Middle East will join a range of men and women from Cambodia's mine action community at the conference to discuss experiences of mine-affected states, the needs of survivors and international cooperation on mine action, it added.

"Cambodia's experience proves that focused efforts and resources can make a real deference," Sok An, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and First President of the Cambodia Mine Action Authority, said, adding that the number of victims of mine accidents in Cambodia dropped in 2006.

"Cambodia has a responsibility to share with other mine- affected countries its lessons learned in eradicating landmines," Sok An was quoted as saying.

This event is one of many world-wide events to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Ottawa Treaty, the international agreement that bans antipersonnel landmines, the press release said.

Since 1997, Canada has contributed over 225 million U.S. dollars to mine action worldwide, including a recent pledge for Cambodia of over 6 million U.S. dollars, according to Donica Pottie, Canada's Ambassador to Cambodia.

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