How to Save the Mekong
The Mekong is one of the world's major rivers. From Tibet this river runs through China's Yunnan province, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Mekong basin is after the Amazon the second richest area of biodiversity in the world. More than 1200 species of fish have been identified. It is also the home of the rare freshwater dolphin. But the region is in danger because of numerous dams being build. Come join us in a debate: 22 June 2010, 17:30 to 19:30, Nieuwspoort, The Hague.
The Mekong River basin is not only the second richest area of biodiversity in the world, it also provides for the livelihood of millions of people and supports one of the world's most productive inland fisheries, feeding more than 60 million people. Both ENDS invites you for a debate on the environmental and social impacts caused by dam building in the Mekong River, and the potential role the Netherlands could play to 'save the Mekong'.
The booming economies and expanding cities of Thailand, Vietnam and China are in dire need of energy. Currently up to fifteen dams on the upper Mekong mainstream in China and eleven hydro power dams on the lower mainstream in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand are planned. The resulting impacts are not limited to the dam building area. The dams will also threaten the river's massive fish migration and the rice fields in the lower Mekong Delta. The Netherlands is highly engaged in the Mekong delta region to assist Vietnam to protect itself against rising sea levels, caused by climate change. Efforts which might be threatened by the upstream activities.
So how is the Dutch government exactly involved in the Mekong region? The Netherlands contributes assistance to the Mekong River Commission (MRC), which is the regional river authority. Furthermore, The Netherlands is a shareholder of the Asian Development Bank. The ADB finances the electricity transmission lines as the hardware for market integration with Aid for trade money. In these forums the Dutch government can share its concerns about the impacts caused by dam building.
Our pannelists are:
- Ms. Premrudee Daoroung, coordinator Save the Mekong alliance, Thailand.
- Mr. Niels Veenis, Dutch global water program for Vietnam and Indonesia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Mr. Marc Goichot, Living Mekong Programme coordinator, WWF- Mekong.
- Mr. Rinus Vis, Water resources management expert (consultant for the Mekong River Commission), Deltares
Presentation: Jan Donkers
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