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Monday, October 03, 2011

3rd World Ecotourism Conference held in Cambodia

PREAH SIHANOUK, Cambodia on Monday hosted the 3rd World Ecotourism Conference, aimed at developing Asia Pacific region as a leading ecotourism destination.

The three-day conference, under the theme "Charting the Future of Ecotourism in Asia: Asia will dominate global tourism in future, " attracts some 300 governmental officials, tourism ministers, deputy ministers, ecotourism specialists, businessmen, representatives from national and international ecotourism associations and communities from 23 countries, mostly in Asia Pacific region.

"The conference will be a good opportunity to establish and boost relationship and cooperation on the development of ecotourism in the region in a sustainable and responsible manner," said Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon at the opening ceremony.

"Also, it's time to exchange the best experience and practice related to the ecotourism development in order to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of natural and environmental conservation."

"In the future, we want to make the Asia Pacific become a leading attraction for the development and investment in ecotourism," he added.

The minister said that at the end of the conference, there would be "Sihanoukville Declaration on Multilateral Cooperation for Ecotourism Development."

The declaration would be submitted to the United Nations World Tourism Organization for the final approval.

"The declaration would be a roadmap for the ecotourism development in a sustainable and responsible manner in the whole Asia, particularly in Cambodia," he said.

During the conference, there was also ecotourism exhibition with the participation of ecotourism communities and private investors in ecotourism with 23 booths.

Preah Sihanouk is a coastal province in southwestern Cambodia. It's the country's third most popular tourism destination after Siem Reap's Angkor Wat temples and Phnom Penh.

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Cambodia suffers worse from climate change: deputy

PHNOM PENH, Oct. 3 -- Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly said Monday the country has been suffering more serious from global climate change in recent years, referring to the floods that has hit the country since August and killed at least 150 people so far.

"We are in poor country, we don't have enough sophisticated equipment and techniques to respond to that irregular phenomenon, so we are easily vulnerable to the impacts of climate change," he said during opening the 2nd National Forum on Climate Change, which was attended by some 500 government officials, development partners, academia, private sector and civil society.

Climate change has been seriously impacted economic and social development and environmental protection, he said.
Yim Chhay Ly said the Mekong River and flash floods hitting Cambodia since August have cost Cambodia millions of U.S. dollars and needed years to rehabilitate.

"It cost human lives, destroy agricultural crops, infrastructure, homes, schools and so on," he said. "It has been slowing down Cambodia's efforts in developing the nation."

Cambodia has been suffering the worst from the Mekong River and flash floods in the last decade. Since early August to date, the floods had killed at least 150 people, submerged 130,220 homes with affected 173,063 families, and affected over 270,000 hectares of rice paddies, according to the reports of the National Committee for Disaster Management.

The floods also affected more than 100 kilometers of national roads and up to 1,800 kilometers of gravel roads, it said.

Meanwhile, Yim Chhay Ly called on foreign donors and development partners to accelerate their supports to Cambodia during the flood period and post-flood rehabilitation period.
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