Community Rights in the Mekong Sustainability Management

Drastic ecological change of the Mekong is linked with hydropower development. Water fluctuation due to operation of upstream dams is indicating by the fish species and their stocks declined.

We visited two communities located along the Mekong River. The first community is in Chiang Khan District, Loei Province bordering with Laos and the nearest downstream area in Thailand to Xayaburi dam - the first dam in lower Mekong mainstream completed in 2019.

The second community is in Ubon Ratchathani - which is the last Province in Thailand before the Mekong flows into Laos territory. It is evidently that both communities are struggling to make a living from the Mekong natural resource, in particularly fishery that has been their main protein as well as income. It is suggested that sustainable management of the Mekong River must be inclusively involved local people’s voices. 

Planned dams on the Mekong are also being questioned if it is necessary or not while better energy solutions exist such as solar, wind and biomass. Regional water governance is needed to ensure community rights and equitable pathway for the Mekong people, especially for those who depends directly on this transboundary, shared and common resource. 

Video documentary by Mingkhawan Thuemor, Decha Khambaomueang and Tipakson Manpati

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