Lao Government joins forces with MRC, WWF and IUCN to celebrate World Wetlands Day

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 2nd Feb 2007

Members of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Department of Livestock and Fisheries, the Science Technology and Environment Agency, and the Lao National Mekong Committee joined representatives of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), together with its partners from the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) today to share in a celebration of World Wetlands Day (2 February) at the National University of Laos (NUoL), Dongdok Campus, Vientiane.

The event will raise awareness of the importance of wetlands to society, to the environment and to the economy of Lao PDR. The MRC, IUCN and WWF are working together to conserve the wetlands in the Lower Mekong Basin and to highlight their economic value. As well as providing an important source of food and income for rural people, wetland habitats (including rivers, lakes, paddy fields, nongs and flooded forests) are home to many rare and endangered species, such as the Siamese Crocodile and Mekong Dolphin.

The theme of this year's World Wetlands Day is "Fish for Tomorrow" a particularly significant issue for Lao PDR where fish and other aquatic products represent an important source of protein and household income and the productive inland fisheries rely on healthy wetlands. World Wetlands Day is organised globally by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which Lao PDR hopes to join later this year.

The afternoon's celebration took the form of presentations by Government and University Officers, followed by a panel discussion involving the government agencies, NUoL students and representatives of non-government organisations. There was also an accompanying exhibition on the wetland work of organisations and environmental agencies in Lao PDR, as well as a display of children's art.

In his welcome address by Mr Soukkongseng Saignaleuth, President of the National University of Laos, stressed the importance of educating young people about the need to preserve wetlands. His speech was followed by presentations on the importance of wetlands to the ecology, society, economy and the Ramsar Convention by Mr Phouviang Latdavong, Director General, Department of Inspection, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the importance of fish for tomorrow and the significance of the ecosystem on aquatic biodiversity by Mr Somphanh Champhengxay, Deputy Director General, Department of Livestock and Fisheries.

Mr Phouviang and Mr Somphanh were later joined on an expert panel by Mr Khamphet Roger of the Living Aquatic Resources Research Centre and Mr Chanthavong Saignasith, Director General of the Lao National Mekong Committee. The panel addressed questions raised by NUoL students on the use and future of wetlands in Lao PDR.

To build understanding of the importance of wetlands within the next generation, the Mobile Conservation Unit of NUoL, organised a children's art competition throughout January to encourage youngsters to think about the future of their land. Children from schools close to wetlands in Vientiane were given materials, engaged in play activities on the theme of the World Wetlands Day and asked to illustrate what wetlands mean to them. Children from all of the schools involved joined in the WWD celebration at NUoL. A selection of the artwork was displayed and the winners of the children's art competition were presented with prizes at the end of the day's events.

-ends-

Languages

Download this press release in:

For More Information

Ms Tiffany Hacker, Interim Communication Advisor
Tel: +856 56120695 or +856 21 263 263 Ext. 4703
Email: damian@mrcmekong.org

Mr Khy Lim, Communications Officer
Tel: +856 20 5622 8131
Email: khy@mrcmekong.org

Latest News

Media Release - Mekong leaders reaffirm the Mekong River Commission’s primary and unique role in sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin

As the 3rd Mekong River Commission (MRC) Summit came to a close today, the Siem Reap Declaration was adopted by the MRC member ...

China notified about discharge of Jinghong Reservoir 5 days in advance

MRC received a one-day advance ‘emergency notification’ from China – its dialogue partner – about its planned water discharge from the Jinghong Reservoir to the lower Mekong River tomorrow, aimed to ensure power grid security

Media Release - International conference recommends priorities for the lower Mekong countries to achieve sustainable development agenda

A two-day international conference convened by the Mekong River Commission (MRC) comes to a close today...

3rd MRC Summit sets out to strengthen joint efforts and partnerships for sustainable development in the Mekong River Basin

Next week, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) will convene the 3rd MRC Summit in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This capstone event will bring together the four Prime Ministers of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam ...

Five riparians win MRC writing competition: What does the Mekong mean to you?

Today, five Mekong riparians were named as winners of a Mekong River Commission (MRC) writing competition, which had posed the question: What does the Mekong River mean to you?


Media Contact

For media inquires, please contact:
Sopheak Meas: sopheak@mrcmekong.org
Le Thi Huong Lien: huonglien@mrcmekong.org or
mrcmedia@mrcmekong.org or view the Contact page here