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  • Basin Planning » Mekong River Commission
    Basin planning is complex Today the Lower Mekong Basin is experiencing a rapid development boom Demand for food water and energy will increase as a result of economic growth industrialisation and urbanisation Despite the surge in economic growth millions of people still live in poverty To a large extent sustainable basin planning in the Lower Mekong Basin is one link between poverty eradication and economic development Due to these complexities there is a call for a coordinated or integrated approach to basin planning to secure the equitable use of the Mekong s water resources This approach is commonly referred to as Integrated Water Resources Management IWRM and aims to support effective and efficient management of water and related resources at the transboundary and cross sector level Basin Development Strategy In response to the need to coordinate basin planning at the transboundary or regional level Lower Mekong Basin LMB countries adopted the IWRM based Basin Development Strategy in 2011 The Strategy sets out how Mekong Countries will share utilise manage and conserve the Mekong water and related resources to achieve the goals of the 1995 Mekong Agreement The Strategy progresses beyond national and sector planning It moves towards comprehensive basin planning that addresses the Mekong s future development opportunities challenges and risks in the water sector as well as in fisheries navigation flood and drought tourism watershed management and environment The Strategy s implementation will require commitment from all Mekong Countries to best manage the future of the River s water resources Role of the MRC In an effort to ensure the sustainable development of the Basin s water and related resources for the benefit of all riparian countries the Mekong River Comission MRC has created a Basin Development Plan BDP Programme Related Publications Basin Development Strategy 2016 2020 Strategic Plan

    Original URL path: http://mrcmekong.mrcdev.info/topics/basin-planning/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Climate Change » Mekong River Commission
    Lower Mekong Basin the impacts of climate change have become a topic of strong public interest Studies show that the basin is vulnerable to several climate change impacts that include a predicted mean temperature rise of approximately 0 8 degrees Celsius by 2030 as well as a regional increase in annual precipitation of 200mm With more extreme weather events such as typhoons the basin is more vulnerable to floods and drought affecting people s livelihoods and reducing agricultural productivity In the Mekong Delta saltwater intrusion caused by sea level rise is predicted to take a toll on agriculture aquaculture and capture fisheries Sea level rise could also result in the displacement of millions of people throughout the Delta Adaptation efforts As global and local concerns about climate change grow the Mekong River Commission continues its work to better understand how people in the basin can adapt to it Adaptation initiatives are underway throughout the basin as part of regional and national projects Most adaptation strategies focus on water resource management agriculture and natural disaster management Decision makers and strategists in the Mekong countries are increasingly aware of the effects of climate change and are integrating the issue into their broader policy making and basin development plans The MRC actively supports its Member Countries with technical advice and dialogue based forums to encourage knowledge sharing and foster an understanding of climate change within its transboundary context Role of the MRC The MRC s Climate Change and Adaption initiative CCAI is a response to a call from MRC Member States for a collaborative regional adaptation initiative to climate change and its challenges The goal of the CCAI is to promote an environmentally sound economically prosperous and socially just Mekong River Basin responsive and adapting to the challenges induced by climate change Related

    Original URL path: http://mrcmekong.mrcdev.info/topics/climate-change/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Environmental Health » Mekong River Commission
    strategies that not only aim to protect the environment but also help people adapt to environmental uncertainties in a more prepared manner Biodiversity The Mekong basin is one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world Recent estimates of the greater Mekong region s bio data include approximately 20 000 plant species 430 mammal species 1 200 bird species 800 reptile and amphibian species and 850 fish species with new species still being discovered Despite its abundance the Mekong s distinct biodiversity is threatened large bodied fish species in particular appear to be declining including the critically endangered Giant Catfish Many important bird habitats have suffered due to wetland drainage overgrazing peat mining reservoir construction pesticide use and changes to agricultural practices The Mekong Basin is home to some of the world s most spectacular amphibians and reptiles but unsustainable hunting and trading practices have decimated many of these populations The MRC is actively trying to conserve biodiversity through its indigenous species aquaculture project under the Fisheries Programme This project encourages the use of indigenous species in aquaculture in order to prevent the spread and dominance of non native invasive species that threaten biodiversity Biodiversity also has the potential to be addressed under the MRC s Basin Development Programme as part of the integrated approach to planning that considers environmental impacts such as biodiversity loss and solutions for reducing them Mekong wetlands The wetlands of the Lower Mekong Basin provide unique and irreplaceable habitats for countless species of fish plants and animals and essential food and water sources for millions of people in rural communities They also have many important ecological functions with high economic values attached such as sediment trapping nutrient recycling and pollution removal surface and ground water storage and carbon capture MRC research on wetlands under

    Original URL path: http://mrcmekong.mrcdev.info/topics/environmental-health/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Fisheries » Mekong River Commission
    fisheries including aquaculture amounted to about 3 9 million tonnes in 2008 of which about 2 million tonnes was from capture fisheries Fisheries accounts for nearly 12 of Cambodia s GDP and contributes more to the country s economy than rice production In Lao PDR the fisheries value is equivalent to 7 of the country s GDP Although proportionally less significant to the national economy the Mekong fishery sectors in Thailand and Viet Nam add well over US 750 million to their GDP each year Millions of people rely on subsistence fisheries for food security and also support tens of thousands of businesses ranging from the shops and food stalls that supply fishing families to boat builders and fishing gear suppliers Capture fisheries make the largest contribution to the Mekong s fishery sector Although the total catch appears to be stable from year to year more people are fishing and catches per fisher are lower than in the past In recent years fishers report that their catches have been downsized As more fishers join the industry many are unable to land the same size of fish as they could in the past The recent growth in aquaculture production has been phenomenal In 2008 production was estimated at about 1 9 million tonnes Mt five times more than in 2000 About 1 6 Mt originates from the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam The production of inland aquaculture in Cambodia Lao PDR and Thailand is also increasing but remains less important than capture fisheries Threats to fisheries In the Mekong basin fish often compete for water to survive Other sectors such as irrigated agriculture domestic water supply and industrial use are among fisheries main threats The MRC s Fisheries Programme aims to better protect the river s fisheries by promoting an integrated

    Original URL path: http://mrcmekong.mrcdev.info/topics/fisheries/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Flood & Drought » Mekong River Commission
    risk in the LMB Source MRC 2010 The environmental social and economic benefits of flooding in the LMB are greater than in any other river basin in the world The annual flood pulse drives the basin s fisheries Floodwaters are stored for use in the dry season particularly for irrigation Flood deposited sediments improve soil fertility across the LMB floodplains Finally floods flush and dilute stagnant and polluted waters recharge groundwater tables and maintain river morphology Severe flooding can result in the tragic loss of life damage to agriculture property and infrastructure and disruption of social and economic activities throughout the basin Cambodia and Viet Nam alone commonly account for approximately two thirds of the region s total annual flood damage Flood risks can be minimised through various forms of land use development and building controls regional flood emergency planning and improved preparedness Flood preparedness in the Lower Mekong Basin requires coordinated management by all concerned parties The MRC plays an important role in aiming for basin wide coordination of flood mitigation activities and encouraging an approach that benefits all Member Countries During the flood season the MRC takes data from 138 hydro meteorological stations to predict the water levels of 22 forecast points on the Mekong mainstream This information is then disseminated to National Mekong Committees national forecasting agencies Civil Society Organisations the media and the public When the river runs dry drought in the basin Unlike floods droughts have less apparent benefits Drought can result in food and water shortages loss of income and higher levels of disease Droughts are damaging to agriculture especially rice and can result in a total loss of crops livestock and fisheries Given the relatively high frequency of severe drought in the Lower Mekong Basin its associated costs are and will continue to

    Original URL path: http://mrcmekong.mrcdev.info/topics/flood-and-drought/ (2016-05-01)
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  • People » Mekong River Commission
    a majority of them the river is their market place Fisheries put a lot of food on tables serving up 2 5 million tonnes of protein every year Of the 60 million people living in the Lower Mekong Basin LMB about 40 live within a 15 km corridor along the Mekong River most within 5 km of the mainstream Without a doubt the river acts as the region s highway and provides access to trade food security and livelihoods Riverine communities are experiencing a period of rapid change as the Lower Mekong Basin makes a competitive presence on regional and global markets However millions still live without basic amenities such as clean drinking water and electricity Understanding the potential of natural resources Mekong countries pursue their development ambitions to boost their economies and improve the livelihoods of their people Intensified irrigation for agriculture proposed hydropower development and cross border waterway trade are among those on the horizon that may impact the Mekong s people The Mekong River Commission works with the region s governments and stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of these goals The organisation provides expertise on basin wide strategic planning research based technical advice to state agencies and works with political leaders and policy makers The MRC supports the Mekong countries by turning policies into practice Through the MRC s work governments can ultimately make progress towards poverty eradication and boost their economies in a way that involves not just one particular nation or group but the basin and its people as a whole Role of The MRC In complement to the Environment Programme and Basin Development Plan Programme the MRC studies the use of aquatic ecosystems by populations in the region This work is designed to determine how people benefit from aquatic ecosystems and how they are

    Original URL path: http://mrcmekong.mrcdev.info/topics/people/ (2016-05-01)
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  • River Transport » Mekong River Commission
    between Cambodia and the Lao PDR the impassable Khone Falls The river in the fast lane North of the Khone Falls narrow and turbulent sections of the river as well as large annual water level variations present a challenge to the development of trade and transportation Despite these difficulties the river provides an important link between China and lower Mekong countries Port infrastructure is being expanded to accommodate expected growth with new facilities planned for the Chiang Saen port located in the Golden Triangle where the borders of Lao PDR Myanmar Thailand and Viet Nam converge In the Lower Mekong Basin river based trade in Viet Nam and Cambodia has grown significantly in recent years In 2009 Mekong trade received a significant boost with the opening of a new deep water port at Cai Mep in Viet Nam The Cai Mep container terminals can accommodate some of the largest container ships in the world These vessels sail directly to Europe and the United States Safer environmentally friendlier navigation Through the MRC s Navigation Programme a number of efforts are under way to improve navigation safety Some of the initiatives include the installation of safety aids along the least navigable areas of the river and updated modelling The Programme has also facilitated a number of cross border agreements making regional trade more effective In 2009 Cambodia and Viet Nam signed a bilateral Treaty on Waterway Transportation to reduce cross border navigation restrictions and improve efficiency and safety standards on the Mekong Improved regulations monitoring coordination and control of navigation activities contribute towards a healthier riverine environment by reducing shipping accidents that result in oil spills and other dangerous substances For example specialised port facilities can eliminate the risks involved in the beach landings of petroleum tanker barges Role of the MRC

    Original URL path: http://mrcmekong.mrcdev.info/topics/river-transport/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Sustainable Hydropower » Mekong River Commission
    time concerns have intensified over the potential cumulative impacts proposed schemes have on the environment fisheries and people s livelihoods in the Lower Mekong Basin To avoid transboundary impacts the MRC is exploring sustainable options to hydropower development Sustainable hydropower development moves away from narrowly approaching infrastructure as a way to meet the growing needs of energy services and focuses on thinking about the overall effectiveness of projects within a basin wide perspective Working together towards a more sustainable future Proposed Mainstream Dams At present only 10 percent of the estimated hydroelectric potential in the Lower Mekong Basin is developed How Mekong countries decide to pursue future hydropower development is perhaps one of the most challenging strategic decisions they have faced since the signing of the 1995 Mekong Agreement It is important that Member Countries work together to balance sustainability with development opportunities In response to this dynamic situation the MRC s Initiative on Sustainable Hydropower focuses on advancing regional cooperation for the sustainable management of the growing number of hydropower projects from a river basin management perspective This includes drawing effectively on international experiences developing regional technical knowledge and sharing best practices relevant to all stages of planning Role of The MRC The MRC is working with Member Countries on hydropower development strategies and policies coordinated and integrated impact assessments and consistent and fair mitigation measures Over the past several years the MRC has conducted substantial research monitoring and modelling relevant to hydropower development In 2008 the MRC developed the Initiative on Sustainable Hydropower ISH which is designed to coordinate and integrate its hydropower related activities into many of its programmes The ISH is a comprehensive initiative to be integrated with and in varying degrees implemented through other MRC programmes and the Basin Development Plan Programme Environment Programme Fisheries

    Original URL path: http://mrcmekong.mrcdev.info/topics/sustainable-hydropower/ (2016-05-01)
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