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Sovanna Phum performance of Shadow Puppet Theater in Stung Treng Ramsar Site and in Phnom Penh for local communities and policy makers

Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) in collaboration with Sovanna Phum (Khmer Art association), SP, jointly developed the script for a play highlighting the issues of wetlands and natural resources use experienced in Stung Treng. The story had been developed in consultation with partners: Government agencies concerned, local and international NGOs. There were ten

performances: eight in Stung Treng Province and two in Phnom Penh for policy makers and general public. The artists practiced for two weeks and then went to perform in the MWBP demonstration site - Stung Treng Ramsar site. Sovanna Phum artists trained six villagers for each performance site to perform with the Sovanna Phum group. Their involvement is an additional flavor for audiences in the villages as they played on the scene of their own problem that they are facing such as community fisheries conflict and land concession issues. There were about one thousand spectators at each performance. After the performance there were the questions and answers between the artists and the audience on their concern associated with the issues that the small Shadow puppet performed. The last two performances will be held in Phnom Penh on 29 November and 4 December 2006. The governors, directors or representative of provincial Departments and local communities attended the performance in the provincial town; and local authorities and communities enjoyed the meanings of the story and it is relevance to the issues, which are currently happening in the site.

3rd Lao National Steering Committee

17 October 2006, Vientiane, Lao PDR

The 3rd Meeting of National Steering Committee hosted by the National Programme Office (NPO) was officially convened on 17 October 2006 from 8.00 am to 12.00 at Novotel, Vientiane Lao PDR. The half day meeting was chaired by Mr. Somphanh Chanphengsay, Deputy Director of Department of Livestock and Fishery (DLF), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). Participating in the meeting were 19 people including members of National Steering Committee from national and provincial levels, UNDP team leader, MWBP Programme Manager, Representative of IUCN Vientiane Office, National Programme Director, National Programme Coordinator and senior government and MWBP staff.

The meeting had reviewed and adopted the MWBP progress report and plan for 3 remaining months of 2006, the wetland specialist network and training and communication plans. The result of the Mid Term Evaluation of MWBP-Lao component and TRAC proposal and concept note for the GEF funding project for the follow-on wetland biodiversity conservation work in Lao PDR, the closure of the MWBP and potential funding sources and supports were also discussed.

The meeting acknowledged with high appreciation the progress made by the MWBP and confirmed the continued support and commitment for the long term development of work on wetland conservation and sustainable use on Lao PDR. The participants, however expressed their concerns on the current financial uncertainty leading to the stagnant situation that can be anticipated after December 2006 when the MWBP Phase A completed.

Fishers hand-over their nets: historic ceremony to mark the end of Mekong Giant Catfish hunting

9 June 2006, Chiang Khong, Thailand

On the evening of Friday, 9 June 2006, local people, district officials, and programme managers from the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) took part in a ceremony to close the chapter on hunting of Mekong Giant Catfish in Chiang Khong, located along the border with Lao PDR in northern Thailand. The ceremony was the culmination of talks that began in 2004 to conserve the threatened species and was followed by a celebration in honor of His Majesty the King of Thailand’s 60th anniversary on the throne.



Innovative Technique Provides Safe Drinking Water  

May 2006, Attapeu Province, Lao PDR

The Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) and villagers introduce a groundwater well-drilling technique to provide safe drinking water in Attapeu, Lao PDR.  

The communities living along the Mekong River and its tributaries are dependent on water for their daily subsistence. Water taken directly from the river is used for drinking. This represents a serious health threat. It also places a heavy burden on women and girls who are responsible for collecting the water.

The recent work of the MWBP, in collaboration with Health Unlimited, shows that lack of access to safe drinking water for river-based communities is a major factor in widespread health and sanitation related diseases. Following a process of participatory planning in four villages a groundwater well drilling machine with high technology to construct tube wells has been tested in Haad Oudomxay village in Sanamxay district.

The wells have been placed so as to allow access to all members of the village, with one well placed in the village school. The villagers belonging to the Sou ethnic minority group have set up a village water supply and sanitation “WATSAN” committee and a trust fund to ensure the long-term sustainable management and maintenance of the tube wells. The approach will now be applied in other villages in Attapeu.


Environmental Solutions to Improve Nutrition and Overcome Ill Health in Lao PDR

10-11 May 2006, Attapeu Province

Environmental and health linkages were reviewed during a workshop hosted by the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) and Health Unlimited (HU) in Attapeu Province, Lao PDR, on 10-11 May 2006.

Attapeu is one of the poorest provinces in Laos with poor nutrition, lack of access to safe drinking water and inadequate medical services being major factors in people’s poverty. The workshop, involving local people, and provincial and district government workers made practical recommendations to improve nutrition and health.


Release of the 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species reveals ongoing decline of the status of plants and animals
May 2006, Geneva, Switzerland

The total number of species declared officially Extinct is 784and a further 65 are only found in captivity or cultivation. Of the 40,177 species assessed using the IUCN Red List criteria, 16,119 are now listed as threatened with extinction. This includes one in three amphibians and a quarter of the world’s coniferous trees, on top of the one in eight birds and one in four mammals known to be in jeopardy.

The 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species brings into sharp focus the ongoing decline of the earth’s biodiversity and the impact mankind is having upon life on earth. Widely recognized as the most authoritative assessment of the global status of plants and animals, it provides an accurate measure of progress, or lack of it, in achieving the globally agreed target to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.


Extract: The 300 kg Mekong Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) of South-east Asia is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world and was listed as Critically Endangered in 2003. Adopted as one of four flagship species by the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity and Sustainable Use Programme, it is the focus of regional co-operation on fisheries management issues and conservation activities.

Vice Minister Discusses Wetland Management with MWBP and Other Wetland Managers

April 2006, the Plain of Reeds, Viet Nam

The Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Vice Chief of the Department of Forestry and the Director of Southern Sub-Institute of Forest Inventory and Planning (Sub-FIPI), visited the MWBP demonstration sites in April 2006. Following on from this visit the Vice Minister requested that MWBP and Sub-FIPI organise a roundtable meeting, chaired by the Vice Minister, with the participation of all managers of protected wetlands in the Mekong Delta, the Viet Nam Environment Protection Agency and leading wetland scientists from the southern region.

Such a meeting is a great achievement in the recognition of wetlands and their ecological importance to the people of Viet Nam.The roundtable was a success, with the wetland managers of the Mekong Delta being able to communicate directly to the ministry about the challenge they face.


Historic End to the Fishing of Mekong Giant Catfish in Thailand
April 2006, Chiang Khong, Thailand

Photo: Zeb Hogan/MWBP

An agreement has been signed to cease fishing of the Mekong Giant Catfish, Pangasianodon gigas, in Thailand from this year onwards.

The agreement was signed by the Department of Fisheries, the Senator of Chiang Rai, the Mekong Giant Catfish Club (MGC Club), Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP), Chiang Khong Head of District and Wildlife Fund Thailand.

Commitment to abide by the decision was provided by the MGC Club, if members were compensated on their investment for nets. In response to this request, conservation organisations and government departments committed to raise funds for compensation.

This agreement and the willingness of the people to commit to stop hunting giant catfish is indeed a big achievement, not only for Thailand but all the people within the Mekong basin.



First National Wetland Specialist Network Set Up in Lao PDR

April 2006, Lao PDR

Networking is a powerful tool for building collaboration and sharing information, as well as developing principles and good practice for wetlands conservation and sustainable use, and for advocating these principles.

In recognition of the importance of networking, and to contribute towards it’s goal of strengthening capacity, the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) instigated the establishment of the first ever National Wetlands Specialists Network in Lao PDR.


Lower Mekong River Basin Celebrates World Water Day
22 March 2006

World Water Day is celebrated on 22 March each year. The theme of World Water Day for 2006 is "Water and Culture", which is very appropriate for the Lower Mekong River Basin area.

Water is an unifying element, as access to clean water is vital for all cultures, for drinking and food preparation, to sanitation and agriculture. The Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) is working hard to ensure that through the wise use of wetlands, water management and access is improved, especially in regard to trans-boundary issues.

World Water Day is a day of celebration, and MWBP has many achievements to acknowledge. For more information about the programme achievements, please download the World Water Day media release below.


Thailand Hosts First National Steering Committee

13 March 2006, Bangkok

Thailand hosted its first National Steering Committee (NSC) meeting on 13 March 2006. There are approximately 20 members on the Thai NSC from various government departments and ministries, as well as some NGO representatives. At the meeting the MWBP team consisted of the UNDP Team Leader, National Programme Director, National Programme Coordinator and Programme Co-Manager, who together provided an explanation about the programme structure and the role of the Regional Steering Committee (RSC) and the National Steering Committees. The NSC meeting mainly focussed on the 2006 workplan which was approved by the committee. It was also decided that the Thai NSC will meet three times per year in order to fulfil their duties within the programme. The NSC is also interested in visiting the MWBP demonstration site in the Lower Songkhram River Basin, in northeast Thailand, in order to observe the work of the MWBP.

Thai Baan Network Launches New Fish Species Publication
February 2006, Thailand

Thai Baan research - meaning Villager's Research - strengthens local people’s capacity to analyse challenges and solve their own problems. As such, Thai Baan provides a platform for local people to better participate in decision-making processes and for these processes to be better informed, allowing a broader range of ideas and interests to be represented.

The Thai Baan network has also produced two informative products about the ecology, livelihoods and biodiversity of the Lower Songkhram River Basin. Follow the links to download the Thai Baan products, both available in Thai script only:

Fish Species in the Wetlands of the Lower Songkhram River Basin - Local Knowledge of the Fishers in the Lower Songkhram River Basin > GO TO PRODUCTS

Thai Baan Research on the Ecology and History of the Seasonally-Flooded Forest in the Lower Songkhram River Basin > GO TO PRODUCTS

Cambodian National Steering Committee to be formed

Phnom Penh , 22 February 2006

The Senior Minister and the Minister of Environment have called a meeting to form the National Steering Committee (NSC) of the Mekong Wetlands Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) in Cambodia. The Senior Minister, Dr Mok Mareth will chair the meeting at the Ministry of Environment on 22 February 2006.

Download a list of the key ministries invited to join the NSC, meeting observers and agenda >

Conflict Management for Natural Resource Management

Dong Thap, Viet Nam, 13-19 Fberuary 2006

At the request of the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP), RECOFTC delivered a customised training on Conflict Management for Natural Resources Management to 21 participants from 13 to 19 February 2006 at Dong Thap Guest House, Dong Thap, Viet Nam. Participates included programme staff and partners.

Overall, the training was successful. The majority of participants gained knowledge, skills and processes that can be applied in their own work. The participants also indicated that the training met the stated training objectives as well as their own expectations. The group was excellent to work with: good humored, relaxed, energetic and eager to learn. They were also very experienced and knowledgeable about the complexity of their field sites which provided an excellent base to build upon.


World Wetlands Day 2006

Lower Mekong River Basin, February 2006

World Wetlands Day was celebrated across the regional on, or around, 2 February 2006. To find out more about how MWBP contributed to the celebrations, please link on the country links below.


Programme Booklet Released in Thai Script
Thailand, January 2006

In order to assist our Thai stakeholders and partners to understand the MWBP and its work, the Thai National Programme Office has produced a booklet in Thai script summarising the key concepts of the programme.


Viet Nam’s First Wetlands Status Report Launched in Conjunction with World Wetlands Day
Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 16 January 2006

A comprehensive assessment of wetlands status in Viet Nam, titled “Overview of Wetlands Status in Viet Nam Following 15 Years of Ramsar Convention Implementation” will be nationally launched by Viet Nam Environment Protection Agency (VEPA) on 16 January 2006. The launch will also coincide with World Wetlands Day (2 February 2006) and its theme of the year "Wetlands as a tool in poverty alleviation".

Experts in the field of nature conservation, water and wetlands management from ministries, research institutions, universities and international and national NGOs, associations will participate in the report launch, many of who have contributed to the development of the report. The report is the product of a collaborative effort of the Vietnam Environment Protection Agency (VEPA), the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Viet Nam, and the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP), with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

MEDIA RELEASE (English) including links to the report >
MEDIA RELEASE (Vietnamese) including links to the report >

Global Water Project Turns Spotlight on Children of the Mekong
Mekong River Basin, December 2005

Children and their relationship with water will be the focus of an international film crew and photographer who will visit the Mekong Region from 4 – 18 December 2005, as part of the global project Tales of Water.

The global project Tales of Water - A Child’s View tells the exciting story of the many challenges facing water management through the eyes of children. This multimedia project is coordinated and managed by The World Conservation Union (IUCN) and undertaken by the Tales of Water Foundation. It focuses on children living in river basins in the Middle East, Africa, Central and South America, Europe and Asia (project countries of the Mekong River Basin include Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam).


Scientists Meet to Develop Species Conservation Action Plan for Mekong Giant Catfish and other Threatened Species
12-13 December 2005, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Scientists from Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, as well as international experts, met in Cambodia on 12-13 December 2005 to develop a draft Species Conservation Action Plan for the critically endangered Mekong Giant Catfish. The first day of the meeting was devoted to reviews of current knowledge on the Mekong Giant Catfish and updates of activities in 2005. On the second day of the meeting, participants worked to identify priority activities and develop a draft Species Conservation Action Plan.

Participants agreed that to the overall conservation objectives of: 1) maintenance of a viable wild population; 2) restoration of historical distribution; 3) maintenance of a genetically representative captive population; and 4) protection of critical habitats and ecosystem processes. Participants also agreed to institute a joint conservation planning process built around a series of joint workshops, research activities, conservation interventions, and policy and outreach activities. Future conservation activities include further development of captive breeding and focused interventions to reduce fishing mortality.

International experts included representatives from the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific, the Mekong River Commission (MRC), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Imperial College of London.

Overfishing of Inland Waters Threatens Giant Fish and Rural Poor
December 2005

Overfishing of inland waters is a neglected crisis, warns Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) biologist Dr Zeb Hogan, and co-authors in this month's cover story of the journal BioScience. The article titled “Overfishing of Inland Waters” (Bioscience, December 2005) highlights the impact that overfishing may have on the largest fish species as well as millions of poor people dependent on subsistence fishing for their livelihoods.

Roughly two-thirds of the reported catch from inland waters comes from Asia, and the authors illustrate the intensity of fishing pressure with examples from the Mekong River. The Mekong giant catfish, possibly the world’s largest freshwater fish at 300kg, is seriously threatened. But as large, high value fish disappear, most fishing pressure falls on the small minnows, called trey riel, which are harvested by a variety of traps and nets from a flotilla of boats and floating villages. The Cambodian currency, the riel, derives its name from the fish.

The paradox is that overexploitation may not lead to short-term decline in catch even when individual species, and long-term sustainability of the overall fishery, are highly threatened. It is often the largest fish species which disappear first as fishers become more dependent on smaller sized, short-lived species. The disappearance of the largest fish is a warning sign that overall fisheries may be in danger of collapse.

To meet the complementary goals of sustaining yields while maintaining biodiversity, the authors suggest four principles to guide fisheries management: sustainability of yields, maintenance of biodiversity, critical habitat/process protection, and fairness of distribution of the socio-economic benefits of aquatic resources.

The authors of the paper include Robin Abell, World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C.; Zeb Hogan, Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme/University of Wisconsin; Carmen Revenga, The Nature Conservancy; Brad Taylor, University of Wyoming; Robin Welcomme of the Long Barn in Suffolk, England; and Kirk Winemiller of Texas A&M University.

Download the article (PDF file) >

Facilitation and Communication Skills Training

Bangkok, Thailand, 28 November - 3 December 2005

A Facilitation and Communication Skills training for 21 programme staff and partners, took place from 28 November to 3 December 2005 at RECOFTC Bangkok, Thailand. The course was designed specifically to fit with MWBP’s context and needs.

Participants indicated that lessons learned from this course would help them become more effective as a group guide and be clear about their role in field work. They would have more opportunity to facilitate meetings or organise training for their clients. Some participants wanted to have a longer course to allow more time for practicing advanced facilitation skills.


Mekong Region Ramsar Initiative is Proposed at Ramsar COP 9

Uganda, November 2005

In response to Resolution VIII.30 of the Ramsar Convention the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) has been facilitating the development of a Mekong Region Ramsar Initiative. The primary intention of this initiative is to facilitate improved implementation of the principles and priorities of the Ramsar Convention through increased regional cooperation

A side event was organised at Ramsar COP9 to discuss the potential for this regional initiative covering the wider Mekong Region.


Mekong Giant Catfish research receives UNEP/CMS Award

November 2005

A study of the ecology and conservation of the Mekong giant catfish was the recipient of the first ever UNEP/CMS Thesis Award. The award was given to the American scientist, Dr Zeb Hogan, for his doctoral thesis work on the critically endangered fish – and one of the world's largest. The research on the critically endangered Mekong Giant Catfish ( Pangasiidae) made a significant contribution to improve its conservation status under the Convention for Migratory Species. The study had high relevance to the vision and goals of UNEP/CMS to protect and improve the conservation status of migratory animals. The extraordinarily long migratory journey of the pangasiid catfish up the Mekong River was a key discovery. The study also aided in the development of conservation strategies and included local stakeholders such as fishermen. Such research may help develop methods for sustainable use of the species.

The prize on migratory species was donated by Deutsche Lufthansa and National Geographic Deutschland and will continue on a triennial basis. Dr Hogan works with the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) to develop and implement a Mekong Giant Catfish Species Conservation Action Plan.

Economic Valuation in Relation to Wetlands Management: Concepts, Methods and Techniques:
A Regional Training-Workshop

Vientiane, Lao PDR 10-15 October 2005     

MWBP organised a six day regional training-cum-workshop in Vientiane, Lao PDR from 10-15 October 2005, which was attended by over 30 participants from the four Lower Mekong Region of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The participants were programme staff of MWBP, government staff from each of the four countries, and representatives from partner agencies in the region (NGOs and INGOs), university professors (economists), and socio-economists and analysts working in conservation and rural development sectors. This was a kind of Trainers Training (TOT) type of training-workshop on the economic valuation of wetland resources.

The main purpose of the workshop was to strengthen the in-house capacity of the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) and its partner-agencies regarding economic assessment and economic valuation of wetlands resources. In addition to presentation of basic concepts involved in valuation of wetland resources, and the key valuation methods and techniques used in past studies; five real-world case studies on wetland valuation were also presented and discussed at the workshop. These studies were carried out in the Mekong region earlier.


Nam Songkhram Basin Fish Festival

7-9 October 2005

The Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) joined the Nam Songkhram Basin Fish Festival on 7-9 October 2005. This annual event is the main calendar event of Sri Songkhram District and draws large crowds of people from across the district and further afield. The festival is also largely promoted by authorities and focuses on showcasing local culture, traditions and product, and featured a mix of cultural, musical and sporting events, alongside entertainment shows, food stalls and a popular fair.


National Workshop on Wetlands and Management of Fires in Wetlands
Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 27 September 2005

A national workshop on Wetlands and Management of Fires in Wetlands will take place in Ho Chi Minh City from 28 to 29 September 2005. The meeting, organised by the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) will bring together policy makers, wetland managers and practitioners, and scientists to discuss three major themes:
  • Legal and policy issues
  • Ecology and research on fire
  • Fire management
The workshop is co-funded by MWBP and the UNDP, with technical support being provided by the Viet Nam country office of The World Conservation Union (IUCN).

MEDIA RELEASE (Vietnamese) >

Media orientation meeting on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use

Tram Chim, Viet Nam, 21-24 September 2005

Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) Viet Nam and Non-Forest Timber Products Project working in collaboration to organise a series of media orientation meetings on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, with a focus on wetlands and non-forest timber products.

The first meeting was held from 21 to 24 September 2005 in Tram Chim National Park. Participants included 24 reporters and journalists from 22 newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations from Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh Cities, and Dong Thap, Long

An provinces. Although the MWBP is a young programme in Viet Nam, it has attracted media to participate in the meeting with participants staying for the three day meeting, learning new concepts and information, and actively participating in discussion and a field visit. The media identified their need for factual information, case studies, and explanation of technical terms to assist them in developing news and reports.

The meeting was also an opportunity for MWBP to intiate contact with journalists who are in charge of covering environmental and development issues. The programme expressed its commitment to work closely with media to achieve mutual benefits. The next meeting will be organised in Hon Gai town from 18 to 21 October 2005, and van Don and Hoang Bo districts are the selected sites for visiting.

Emergency Relief Provided in Attapeu Province

Attapeu, September 2005

A handover ceremony, in recognition of the emergency medical supplies donated by the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) to the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO), was held on 14 September 2005 in Attapeu Province. The supplies were donated in an effort to combat the effects of heavy flooding which occurred in the Province during the first two weeks of August 2005.


Environmental Flows - Ecosystems and Livelihoods - The Impossible Dream? 
Presentation at the Second Southeast Asia Water Forum, Bali, August 2005

Representatives of the Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) of The World Conservation Union (IUCN) attended the second Southeast Asia Water Forum. The team hosted a presentation on 31 August 2005 titled Environmental Flows - Ecosystems and Livelihoods - The Impossible Dream?

Environmental flows (E-flows) is an easy concept.  It means enough water is left in our rivers to ensure environmental, social and economic benefits downstream.  Easy concepts, however, are not always easy to put into practice. E-flows require the integration of a range of disciplines, including engineering, law, ecology, economics, hydrology, political science and communications.  It also requires learning and negotiations between stakeholders, especially in those places where competition for water resources is already fierce.  The Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) is one way to provide space for learning and new insights for negotiations.  

The 2nd Southeast Asia Water Forum in Bali, Indonesia, provided an opportunity to bring together delegates from across Southeast Asia to evaluate E-flows and MSPs as tools for more effective water resources management.  The three-hour session "Environmental Flows - Ecosystems and Livelihoods - The Impossible Dream?" introduced these concepts and their application in Southeast Asia, and addressed fundamental questions about putting theory into practice: Can the application of E-flows provide benefits for ecosystems AND livelihoods? Is the application of the E-flows concept an impossible dream?

Giant Catfish Workshop
Bangkok, 25 August 2005

Representatives of the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme (MWBP) attended the Giant Catfish Workshop in Bangkok to devise a plan to save the giant Mekong catfish from extinction. The giant catfish, one of the world's largest freshwater fish and an icon of the Mekong River, is deemed to be close to extinction in the wild. Its precarious status is thought to be due to excessive fishing and, to a lesser extent, damage to its natural habitat.

The workshops are a joint initative of MWBP and the Darwin Initiative with the next workshop to be hosted by MWBP in December 2005.


Back from the Brink - Wild Siamese Crocodiles Spotted in Viet Nam

A crocodile track observed during the surveys - Viet Nam.

Viet Nam, July 2005

Recent scientific surveys confirm that wild, highly endangered Siamese crocodiles still exist in Viet Nam. The surveys identified fresh tracks and observed an adult individual during a night-time observation exercise. These findings are an amazing discovery for Viet Nam as the Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) was thought to be extinct in the wild, and is ranked Critically Endangered by IUCN – The World Conservation Union.


Regional Communications Training

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 4-8 July 2005

The MWBP Communications Team, consisting of 11 people from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, recently participated in a regional training programme. Focusing on topics such as communication strategy development, writing skills, dealing with the media and branding, the training aimed to increase the general and technical communications capacity of the participants. Over the four days participants were exposed to a number of communication topics through presentations by communication professionals from the Mekong River Commission, UNDP Laos, and KPL News. Learning was highly interactive through the use of exercises, group work and an excursion. Group participation and creative thinking was highly encouraged, and all participants contributed significantly. The training was a unique opportunity to provide sustainable skills transfer through the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Programme. Feedback indicated that participants found the training to be very useful and are keen to return to their own countries to utilise and share their skills.

The training recieved great local media coverage, click below to view the articles.

The Vientiane Times, 4 July 2005, (Page 2) >
KPL News, 4 July 2005, (Page 3) >

Thai Baan Research Attracting Media Attention
The Bangkok Post, Outlook Section, 27 June 2005

Chiang Khong villagers are proving knowledge is power through their use of the Thai Baan research method. Instigated by a rapid deterioration in the health of the Mekong the villager's, supported by SEARIN, have been using the Thai Baan methodology to monitor and preserve their environment. Their efforts were recently featured in The Bangkok Post.

More information about Thai Baan research (Thailand news section)>

Regional Training of Trainers on Wetland Management

Stung Treng, Cambodia, 6–10 June 2005

Twenty participants from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam gathered for the Regional Training of Trainers on Wetland Management, as the follow-up to a similar training held in the Netherlands in 2004. The training focused on multi-stakeholders processes (MSP) and the need for trans-bounadary and cross-sectoral cooperation to manage the resources of the river basin. This training was successfully completed and participants attained many training techniques which they can use to develop curriculum for their respective countries. For more information please contact Mr Phin Sopheap, Regional
Training Coordinator, email: [email protected]

Capacity Building for Wetlands Management

RECOFTC, Bangkok, 23-24 May 2005

On 23 and 24 May 2005, 17 regional MWBP staff gathered in Bangkok for a training course designed to increase understanding of the current regional situation regarding wetlands management, and to ensure that the existing Capacity Strengthening and Training Strategy matched the overall program goals under current conditions.

The training was facilitated by RECOFTC, who shared their knowledge about learning processes, and worked with MWBP to identify areas for possible collaboration. The training resulted in the gaining of a regional perspective regarding wetland management issues; programme capacity needs being identified; and new learning processes being presented. For more information please contact Mr Phin Sopheap, Regional Training Coordinator, email: [email protected]

Red Listing Article Published in International Journal

The article Red Listing - Use of IUCN Red LIsting process as a basis for assessing biodiversity threats and impacts in environmental impact assessment by Peter-John Meynell, UNDP Team Leader of the Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity Programme, was recently published in the latest edition of Impact Assessment and Project Apprasial, Vol 23, Number 1, March 2005.   A full copy of the article can be found in the Products section under biodiversity.


Financial and Administration Training Course
Vientiane, Lao PDR, April 2005

To establish and run financial and accounting system in each office and ensure reporting systems is one major task of the MWBP program activity. Therefore, a Financial and Administration Training Course was successful conducted for all programme managers, officers and, financial and admin officers from the regional, national and site level. The training time was three days (27-29 April 2005) with an extra day being dedicated to a team meeting (26 April 2005).


World Wetlands Day

February 2005

World Wetlands Day (WWD) is celebrated globally on 2 Feburary each year. The day provides an ideal opportunity for government agencies, NGOs and people from all levels of the community to undertake activities aimed at raising public awareness of the values of wetlands, and to celebrate their achievements in wetland conservation and management. For WWD 2005, a variety of activities were organised at a number of sites in the four countries of the Lower Mekong Basin - Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.

WWD Summary >
WWD Regional Report >

$30 million Mekong Wetlands Biodiversity

Programme Gets Green Light

19 July 2004

Vientiane, Lao PDR: A new US$ 30 million programme to promote conservation and sustainable use of the biodiversity of wetlands in the lower Mekong Basin was launched in Vientiane, Lao PDR today. Representatives from the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam attended a ceremony held in Vientiane to launch the scheme.