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Tonle Sap Lake Fisheries

Fish diversity in the Mekong River Basin is surpassed only by that of the Amazon River. A key element of the Mekong River Basin is the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. The lake derives 62% of its water from the Mekong River and is the largest lake in Southeast Asia. Covering an area of 250,000-300,000 hectares during the dry season, it increases to between three and four times this size during the wet season. In 1997, the lake was nominated as a ‘Biosphere Reserve’ under UNESCO’s ‘Man and the Biosphere Program’, which aims to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science.

Climate Change Adaptation in the Lower Mekong Basin

Climate change in the Lower Mekong Basin is expected to result in an increase in the frequency and severity of droughts, floods and saltwater intrusion. Such changes are expected to affect natural ecosystems, agriculture and food production, and also exacerbate the problems associated with supplying the region’s increased demand for food. The impacts of such changes are likely to be particularly severe on Lower Mekong Basin communities, given their strong reliance on natural resources for their livelihoods.

Balancing conservation of wetlands and sustainability of local livelihoods

The Stung Treng Ramsar Site in Cambodia is arguably the most important wetland complex for biodiversity in the Mekong River Basin. Placed onto the List of Wetlands of International Importance (also called ‘Ramsar Sites’) in 1999, this section of the Mekong is home to a unique riparian forest that provides key habitat and food sources for a wide range of mammals, birds and fish. Yet despite this richness of biodiversity, there is widespread poverty and endemic food insecurity in the area.

Building Partnerships for Poverty Alleviation

WorldFish is working with partners in the Mekong Region to support a new alliance of regional and local partners that will contribute towards sustainable wetlands management that benefit the poor. This project supports the Wetlands Alliance, an extensive network of organizations—government, civil and NGOs—actively engaged in developing innovative solutions to poverty alleviation.

The Value of Water in the Mekong Basin

All around the Mekong River Basin, there are indications of rapid change. Limited water resources are being stretched by the growing demand at both reservoir and catchment levels from an increasing number of different users and activities. Hydropower dams are being built on various Mekong tributaries, including those in remote areas of Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam, but the development process does not always take into consideration the full range of costs and benefits to various water users.


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