Siem Reap, Cambodia, 13th Feb 2018
Siem Reap, Cambodia, 13 February 2018 – In an effort to help Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake and Thailand’s Songkhla Lake better manage their resources, a bilateral team from the two countries are finalizing two major reports documenting learning experiences and policy recommendations for addressing major threats facing both lakes.
One of the documents, known as Implementation Report, captures lessons learnt from the project’s joint activities, including field visits and production of video stories for knowledge sharing, and local solutions to help restore fish stocks, prepare communities for extreme weather events such as flood and drought due to climate change, and empower women with income generating activities.
The other report further explores the livelihoods of the riverine communities, sustainability of the lake resources and lake governing system for the development of practical recommendations for the respective governments to build better lake governance.
The two reports are initiated under the Tonle Sap and Songkhla lake basins communication project, funded by the World Bank through the MRC’s Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Project, aimed at promoting healthy lake through community-based management.
At a meeting in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province on 13 February, the bilateral project team exchanged ideas to finalize the implementation report and discussed content of the policy recommendations paper. In addition, they visited the Tonle Sap’s Prek Toal’s community to learn about its unique ecosystem.
“It is important to document what we have learnt from each other so that we can communicate it to our communities and other interested stakeholders to call for their support and interventions to help protect the lake’s resources,” said Sin Viseth, Director of the Department of Exploitation and Conservation Control of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Authority.
The Tonle Sap lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, providing a wide variety of resources-based livelihoods such as agriculture, fisheries and tourism. Similarly, the Songkhla lake is the only natural lake in the Southern part of Thailand. It is renowned for the strong commitment of local communities in lake management.
Through the project, commenced in 2013, the team have conducted literature reviews, visited each other to identify issues they wish to learn about and produced video stories to raise awareness of the common challenges and solutions. These bilateral efforts form as a basis for the development of the two reports.
The reports are due in mid-2018 upon the completion of the project. Key recommendations in the final report are expected to be incorporated into national development plans for promoting healthy lake.
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The Study on the Sustainable Development and Management of the Mekong River, including impacts by mainstream hydropower projects – known as the ‘Council Study’ was conducted by the Mekong River Commission (MRC) from 2012 to 2017.