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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.

Governing Small Scale Fisheries for Poverty Reduction - A CGIAR-Canada Linkage Fund project

This project is fundamentally concerned with maintaining the flow of environmental goods and services to benefit human wellbeing, with improved human wellbeing proposed as a desirable outcome of ‘development’. The novelty of the approach is to address the challenges of environmental sustainability and resilience from a gender-sensitive wellbeing perspective, rather than from the more usual “resource-rent maximisation” perspective of fisheries economic policy.

Sustainable Trade in Ethical Aquaculture

Trade in farmed aquatic products is growing rapidly. Over 50% of fish production is traded internationally. The export of fin fish and shellfish from Asia to Europe is now, in value terms, the most important internationally traded food commodity sector. However, there are major issues regarding the sustainability of this trade from ecological, public health and broader ethical perspectives.

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.

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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