Vientiane, Lao PDR, 6th Nov 2017
Bangkok, Thailand, on 6 November 2017 – In order to amplify what the sister lakes of Cambodia’s Tonle Sap and Thailand’s Songkhla have learnt on community-based lake governance, the two sides agreed today on how and what to document in two upcoming papers they are preparing for policy development and implementation of better governance of the lakes.
The Tonle Sap and Songkhla Lake Basins communication outreach project, one of the fiver bilateral projects under the Mekong River Commission’s Integrated Water Resources Management Project, has supported the two lakes to learn from each other on community-driven resources management and development of the lakes for the last four years. The outreach project was financed by the World Bank because exemplary commitment of the Songkhla’s communities in lake management, from disaster preparedness to fisheries conservation to resource-based alternative income generations, could be learned by the Tonle Sap Lake, the most significant lake in the Mekong Basin for its large scale socio-economic implications.
Since the project was launched in October 2013, the two lakes have conducted literature reviews, visited each other to identify major topics they wished to learn about, and filmed common challenges and coping mechanisms on how to preserve fish stocks, empower women with social enterprise, and prepare communities for various phenomenon of climate change.
“Both lakes have learnt a lot from each other through the project’s joint activities, including field visits and participatory video exchange,” said MRC’s IWRM specialist Piriya Uraiwong, who coordinates the implementation of the five bilateral projects, at the meeting in Bangkok. “Now is the time to document all those processes of your learning experiences and make recommendations for future actions and policy making on lake governance.”
The lakes project team is currently preparing two documents, one on the implementation of joint learning activities, and another on recommendations for policy making and actions for community-led management of the lake resources to build healthy lakes.
During the meeting in Bangkok, the team agreed to emphasize the learning process and common findings from the joint learning activities, rather than academic analysis of the lake management issues, and move forward to develop practical recommendations for the respective governments, the lake management authorities, and the communities and other interested parties.
“We have gained new knowledge and discovered similarities and differences in lake management of the two lakes through this project,” said Wat Botkosal, Deputy Secretary General of the Cambodian National Mekong Committee who led the Cambodian delegation to the meeting. “We hope our recommendations will be put on the table for consideration by the two governments to continue bilateral cooperation on the lake management.”
The lakes project is slated for completion by March 2018.
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