Cambodia Seeks UNESCO World Heritage Status to Protect a Mekong Biodiversity Hotspot

This potentially spectacular success story for global conservation could be derailed if a huge dam project gets the green light.

A bold Cambodian plan to secure World Heritage status along their stretch of the Mekong, where the free-flowing river has sustained some of the world’s greatest biodiversity, could provide much-needed respite to a river in danger of dying from dams and over-exploitation, experts say.

In Phnom Penh, the Environment Ministry’s Under-Secretary of State Neth Pheaktra shared their plan to secure UNESCO world heritage recognition for all the rich biodiversity to be found along the long stretch of the Mekong from the Lao border to the province of Kratie over 200 km downstream. 

Marc Goichot, a freshwater resources and Mekong specialist for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), welcomed the selection of this site. “The wide variety of habitats along this part of the Mekong in Cambodia creates perfect conditions for wildlife to thrive, making this area a miraculous area for freshwater biodiversity,” he said. WWF is assisting in the preparation of the government’s application to UNESCO.

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