The government has issued a new sub-decree which increases the size of three major national parks – Virachey, Jayavarman-Norodom and Preah Monivong Bokor – in a bid to ensure the preservation and protection of the Kingdom’s natural heritage, ecosystems and biodiversity. The expansions will also contribute toward Cambodia’s sustainable development goals.
The sub-decree was signed by outgoing Prime Minister Hun Sen on August 8.
Virachey National Park, which spans Ratanakkiri and Stug Treng provinces, has been increased from 332,500ha to 405,766ha.
The increase to the park, which was established in 1993, comes from the integration of the Northeast Biodiversity Conservation Corridor. The corridor, with an area of 73,266ha, was established by a 2017 decree.
The name of the Jayavarman-Norodom National Park, in Siem Reap province, has been changed to Jayavarman Norodom-Phnom Kulen National Park. Thanks to the integration of the park, established by a 1993 royal decree, with the 25,383ha Northern Biodiversity Conservation Corridor, established in 2017, the park now covers 62,883ha of protected land.
The Preah Monivong Bokor National Park was established in 2010. Thanks to the new sub-decree, it has integrated 1,658ha of the 2017 Cardamom Mountain Biodiversity Conservation Corridor, and now totals 153,116ha across Kampot, Kampong Speu and Preah Sihanouk provinces.
“The issuance of this sub-decree will ensure the preservation and protection of the Kingdom’s natural heritage, ecosystems and biodiversity. These conservation areas will contribute to education, research and recreation, while promoting environmental stability. They will also play a valuable role in reducing climate change and mitigating the risk of natural disasters, while providing sustainable natural products,” said a government statement.
The sub-decree also aims to improve the socio-economic development of local communities, and enhance their participation in contributing to the management, protection and conservation of biodiversity and natural resources in the region.
Sun Kong, director of the Siem Reap provincial environment department, said on August 8 that he welcomed the decision to increase the size of the national parks, especially the Jayavarman Norodom-Phnom Kulen National Park.
He believed the government, especially the Ministry of Environment, made the decision in order to ensure the conservation and protection of biodiversity, with the participation of all stakeholders.
“The sub-decree is based on sound legal principles. This was not done as part of privatisation or similar purpose, but solely to contribute to the conservation of natural resources, especially to ensure land use and simplify the management of the national parks,” he said.
The sub-decree specified that the ministry has the authority to alter and manage the three parks, in collaboration with the Kampot, Kampong Speu, Preah Sihanouk, Siem Reap, Ratanakkiri and Stung Treng provincial environment departments.