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Greening the economy: economic benefits of sustainable development

Balancing human demand for land and food with the need to protect the world’s dwindling natural resources is a global challenge. For developing nations, the challenge can seem insurmountable in the face of booming populations, entrenched poverty and limited institutional know-how for creating sustainable resource management policies. Developing nations can also miss out on tapping into the vast economic benefits that can come with reducing environmental damage and over-exploitation.

Optimizing Water Management for Local Livelihoods in the Mekong Basin

With the high potential of hydroelectricity development, the Mekong Basin region faces a rapid, widespread development pressure in the decades to come. Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam are the main focus areas where more hydropower dam projects are to be built along the Mekong tributaries. Though such projects significantly contribute to regional and national economic growth, local riparian communities are the ones who bear the brunt of the environmental impacts they cause.  Livelihoods of local communities heavily depend on water from rivers and other natural resources in the area a complex way but this complexity is often overlooked by the environmental and social impact assessments conducted for hydropower projects. The past projects in the region, and from around the world, give us a glimpse of the magnitude of short-term and long-term impacts on the livelihoods of riparian communities.

More fish from Cambodia’s rice fields

The rice field fisheries (RFFs) of Cambodia cover a large part of the country in practically all areas where rice is cultivated. For human nutrition, fish and other aquatic animals (collectively referred to as ‘fish’ in this project) vary in importance – depending on the typology of the rice field fisheries, the source of the supply (e.g. lake and major rivers) and the demand or ‘need’ for fish as a source of animal protein.

Partnerships

CGIAR is only one of many organizations engaged in aquatic agricultural systems. Other research, development and policy organizations spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually to improve the lives of people who depend upon these systems.

Our Research

CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems research is designed to improve the wellbeing of people dependent on aquatic agricultural systems.

Our Approach

The complexity and diversity of communities that rely on aquatic agricultural systems means that there can be no single blueprint solution to the challenges they face.

 

Where We Work

The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems is initially focusing on three major types of Aquatic Agricultural Systems:

 

Business models for small-scale aquaculture to help the poor

In developing countries like Cambodia, riverine and coastal waters are the lifeblood of many communities, and have been for millennia. Small-scale fisheries operations feed the local populace, employ local workers, and are a way of life for millions. With demand for fish products’ soaring worldwide, aquaculture in developing nations is seen as a tantalizing opportunity to tap into a growing global market. But cashing in on this global boom is easier said than done for the predominantly poor fishers working in low-tech aquaculture operations. The Pro-poor Business Models for Small-scale Aquaculture (BMSA) project aims to alleviate poverty by identifying innovative business models and finance options that will help small-scale aquaculture enterprises take their produce from catch to market.

Building Livelihood Security and Reducing Conflict in Freshwater Ecoregions

The freshwater ecoregions of Lake Victoria, Lake Kariba and the Tonle Sap Lake are characterized by persistent poverty, high dependence on aquatic resources to provide food security and livelihoods, and intense resource competition. Moreover, significant new pressures have the potential to lead to broader social conflict if not addressed adequately, such as a further increase in the number of local resource users (through population growth, migration and displacement); commercial exploitation of limited resources; competition over water for agriculture and hydropower; and climate change.

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