Phnom Penh (FN), May 22 – Cambodia currently has 7.5 million hectares of natural protected areas, an equivalent to 41% of the whole country’s land, according to Ministry of Environment (MoE)’s statement.

The statement was made by Say Samal, who led the International Biodiversity Day under the theme “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism” on Monday morning.

The event was co-organized by Royal University of Phnom Penh, the Department of Biodiversity, and the National Council for Sustainable Development, and other development partners like UNDP, the EU, and representatives from relevant institutions, NGOs, and about 500 students.

“Based on the reform of the MoE, the natural protected areas have increased to 7.5 million hectares, twice over the set targets of global biodiversity goals set in the 10th Summit in Japan,” said minister Say Samal.

All the plans and strategies reflect the stance of the Royal Government of Cambodia in managing natural resources for sustainable development, and the policy goes along with the global trend.

“With a combination of political stability and security over the past 30 years, ecotourism is playing a significant role for sustainable development in Cambodia. The ministry tries to change people’s behavior from taking excessive of resources to help to conserve world’s biodiversity and exotic and endangered species,” he added.

MoE has prepared a strategy and action plan on biodiversity, which focuses on managing natural protected areas, including sustainable tourism and conservation and to promote park services for national and international tourists.

The minister stressed that all these achievements are from the joint efforts of government agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector and local communities.