IUCN Mekong Water Dialogues, view over Stung Treng wetlands, Cambodia

Welcome to the Mekong Water Dialogues newsletter!

Want a snapshot of what’s happening with the Mekong Water Dialogues (MWD)? Then this is for you. With partners, stakeholders and National Working Groups in mind, we provide an update of the MWD activities across the Lower Mekong Region. We’re counting on you to let us know how we’re doing and what you’d like to hear more about. Contact us


Project Steering Committee meets in Vientiane


On 20 September the MWD Project Steering Committee (PSC) met in Vientiane, Lao PDR . The PSC comprises of the Chairs of the four National Working Groups from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. Together, with a representative from the Embassy of Finland, and the Deputy Regional Director of the IUCN Asia Regional Office, they met to review and approve reports on the progress of MWD in 2011 and to discuss the workplan for the rest of the year.


For more information:

Mekong Water Dialogues progress report January-June 2011

Mekong Water Dialogues Project Steering Committee meeting September 2011



Increased impact from wetlands policy

MWD Cambodia is striving to achieve support and endorsement from the Cambodian government for the establishment of a national framework for wetlands management to secure adequate protection of wetlands for long-term conservation and sustainable livelihood practices. Initially MWD had set out to establish a National Wetland Strategic Plan or National Wetland Strategic Guidance for Cambodia. However, based on a strategic review, MWD Cambodia has reassessed and decided that the establishment of Sectoral Wetland Guidelines is a higher priority and also more effective within the project timeframe of MWD.

Read more about this development

IUCN Mekong Water Dialogues Cambodia NWG meeting October 2011

Ramsar wetland sites promote knowledge exchange


An exchange visit between the first two Ramsar sites in Lao PDR has helped strengthen capacity in sustainable wetland management. Eighteen representatives, including government officials and villages chiefs from the Xe Champhone wetland in Savannakhet Province, southern Lao PDR, travelled to Beung Kiat Ngong in the south-western province of Champassak. The visitors met with locals from the Ban Kiat Ngong area, who shared their experiences on wetland management, including conflict resolution.

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Local woman boats across Beung Kiat Ngong

Learning from river basin management in Thailand


MWD Thailand has commenced an assessment of the Thai River Basin Organisations in conjunction with the Chi River Basin Committee. Using the Chi River Basin in north-eastern Thailand as a case study, the review will assess ten years of experience of river basin management. A summary of lessons learned will provide valuable guidance and insight on this model of governance for other Mekong countries.


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Brainstorming in needs and objectives

International support for cat fish conservation

Each year, fishermen in Vientiane Province take advantage of the annual migration of an endangered cat fish species, known locally as Pa Khoun. During this season the rivers become packed with fishing boats. However in recent years, Hom District authorities have noticed a decline in fish catch. To assist recovery of this fish, the United States Embassy agreed to fund the “Pa Khoun Conservation Initiative” which involves establishment of a fish conservation zone through collaboration with the local community and local authorities.


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Launch of the Pa Khoun Conservation Initiative in Vientiane

MWD Thailand receives endorsement from Government

Senator Surajit Chirawate, from the Thai Senate Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environment (Sub-Committee on Water Resources), joined the recent MWD Thailand National Working Group meeting and confirmed the high priority of his unit to support policy recommendations from MWD to the senate.

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Senate meet Thai National Working Group

Viet Nam
Support for national law reform in Viet Nam


Updating the 1998 Law on Water Resources is a priority of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Viet Nam. The Viet Nam River Network (VRN) has recently coordinated a task force of specialists to review the amendments to the law. In August this year, the VRN led a workshop to present and collect feedback on the task force findings.


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One participant presented group discussion's results

Since joining the Ramsar Convention last year, the Government of Lao PDR and its partners have stepped up implementation of the Convention and its principles of conservation and wise use of wetlands.


Read more


Baseline Reports
Beung Kiat Ngong Wetlands, Pathoumphone District, Champassak Province, Lao PDR

Xe Champhone Wetland, Champhone and Xonbuly Districts, Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR


Workshop report
Conservation and Wise Use of Wetlands in the Lower Mekong River Basin

Logos of the Mekong Water Dialogues and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.

MWD is coordinated and facilitated by IUCN and supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. It was initiated to work with countries of the Lower Mekong - Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam - to improve water governance by facilitating transparent and inclusive decision-making for improved livelihood security, human and ecosystem health. To subscribe or unsubscribe from this mailing list – please reply to this email.