Japanese and international scientists seek solutions to water issues in the Mekong Region

Chiang Rai, Thailand, 16th Oct 2006

Scientists from around the world gathered today at a conference held in Chiang Rai, Thailand to discuss how they could pool their knowledge and technology to find solutions to the water problems facing the Asian monsoon region.

The Japanese Mekong Research Groups (MEXT RR2002 (6) Mekong Research Group; AFFRC Water-Food Mekong Project; JST CREST-Mekong,Basin Water Policy Projects; MEXT MeREM Project and University of Yamanashi 21st Century COE Program) and the Mekong River Commission hosted the four-day conference entitled "Mekong Research for the People of the Mekong."

Hydrology and water resources experts from Japan, the US, Australia, Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and other countries are attending the conference and presenting papers on a variety of topics ranging from "water resources development, food and environmental impacts," "climate and basin changes, and water hazards," "ecosystem and biodiversity," to "future opportunities and transboundary collaboration".

"Developing the water resources of the Mekong can play a significant role in poverty alleviation and economic growth, if managed carefully in an integrated approach based on cooperation between all Mekong countries and focusing on the poorest," Mekong River Commission Secretariat Chief Executive Officer Dr Olivier Cogels told the delegates.

"This international conference aims to gather together researchers, engineers and technicians sharing common interests and goals and allowing them to fill in the gaps in each other's knowledge," he said. "It provides a very valuable opportunity for the Mekong River Commission to foster greater collaborative interest in research that will contribute to quality river basin management."

Professor Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, Conference Chairman and Professor of the University of Yamanashi, Japan, said that there were more than a dozen Mekong River research projects in progress.

"These projects deserve a lot of attention and scientific commitment, however, this research is not necessarily conducted with enough mutual communication and planning," he said. "The aim of this symposium is to exchange knowledge among various research disciplines and to discuss this common agenda from different perspectives, focusing on the people of the Mekong. We will clarify what has been tried and what has been achieved, and will discuss, together with the people of the basin, what they can do to contribute to our understanding of this important natural resource. In addition, we will identify new directions for research on the sustainable development of this basin."

Organisations supporting the conference include: the Mekong River Commission, MEXT RR2002 (6) Mekong Research Group, AFFRC Water-Food Mekong Project, JST CREST-Mekong, -Basin Water Policy Projects, MEXT MeREM Project and University of Yamanashi 21st Century COE Program.

-ends-

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