Exploring water futures together : Mekong Region Waters Dialogue, 6 -7 July 2006, Vientiane, Lao PDR (2007)

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The equitable and sustainable use of water is crucial to livelihoods and economic development in the Mekong Region . Millions of local communities are dependent on the fisheries and other products of the river ecosystems. Hydropower is seen by all countries as a logical source of domestic energy or foreign exchange earnings. Irrigated agriculture is expanding throughout the region. For example, there are numerous proposals in Thailand to divert water within and between basins to meet rising demands for water in the rural, urban and industrial sectors. Vietnam is pursuing water infrastructure projects for electricity generation, flood control, irrigation and salinity management in the Red, Mekong and other major rivers. In China’s Yunnan province hydropower cascades and dams in the Nu-Salween and Lancang-Mekong systems are being built or planned to export energy to neighbouring countries as well as China’s eastern industrial centres. Lao PDR and Myanmar also have extensive hydropower plans. Cambodia is expanding its own irrigation capacity with some major redevelopments underway. Many of these national water projects are referenced in the regional programs/strategies of the The World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Mekong River Commission (MRC) and others. Water resources development and management in the Mekong Region is an important subject both within and between countries. It is important there are effective national and international processes for knowledge sharing about the benefits, impacts and risks of alternative development options. High quality deliberation is an important way to inform the processes of negotiation required to create equitable, workable agreements. Dialogues –at different scales– can make a significant contribution to improving the use and governance of water resources in the Mekong Region. If done well Dialogues can lead to reduced conflict, better representation of interests of marginal groups, and sustainable development that better meets diverse local and regional needs. As a contribution to various efforts to enhance equitable and sustainable management of water resources four organisations are convening a Mekong Region Waters Dialogue to bring together people from diverse backgrounds and interests to explore water futures together. There are different visions for the sustainable development of the Mekong Region and the way in which regional waters (in many different river basins) are used. The Mekong Region Waters Dialogue is an opportunity to share and discuss the information being used and the strategies being formulated to guide decision-making and investment. The deliberations will inform and be informed by States, grassroots, NGOs, media, business, multilaterals and bilaterals, policy research institutes, universities, and research and/or advocacy networks. There will be a regional meeting in July 2006, followed by national meetings from August to December.
Language: English
Pages: 75
World Conservation Union, 2007. - 75

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