The exhibition of winning images of the Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) first photo contest, concluded on 31 January 2018, helped increase awareness of the Mekong’s water resources and the necessity for regional cooperation for better management of the river basin.

The two-month long exhibition, which displayed the 30 top images representing the diversity of the Mekong River at the MRC Secretariat in Vientiane, attracted quite a number of visitors with diverse backgrounds, including people from local and regional government agencies, non-governmental organizations, academia and the private sector. Even tourists from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe also enjoyed discovering the stunning photographs.

The visitors appreciated the scenery of the beautiful river and unique livelihoods of the riverine communities captured by the winning photographers and gave their high praise to the event.

“Impressive photo exhibition! All photos are very nice with very useful and meaningful meaning showing the spirit of the Mekong River,” a visitor from Vientiane expressed her views in a record book which drew more than 60 comments from local and international visitors.

“We hope there will be more events as such to build better understanding about the Mekong’s water resources,” added a group of government officials from the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Lao PDR.

The top 30 images were selected from 165 entries from 42 amateur photographers of the four lower Mekong countries – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam – who joined the MRC’s photo contest themed on ‘Mekong Diversity through Your Eyes’ that ran from 7 July to 24 September 2017.

The photos captured amazing landscapes of the Mekong River and its tributaries, livelihoods in the river basin and various water use. Among them include fishermen risking lives daily to hunt fish, local people trading on the river, a flock of black cormorants and the beauty of flooded forests – all of which represent the abundant resources of the Mekong basin.

“Such a privilege to see these photos. They depict such a cross motion of life over a very special Mekong area. Let’s hope the lifestyle can be maintained despite such intense development,” said another visitor.

The photo contest and exhibition were organized to celebrate the diversity of the Mekong River and its water and related resources, and to raise awareness of the importance of transboundary water cooperation for sustainable development of the region. It is part of the MRC’s Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management Project (M-IWRMP), funded by the World Bank, which facilitates transboundary cooperation among the lower Mekong countries for better management of the Mekong basin.

Through five bilateral projects initiated under the M-IWRMP, the four countries are working closely together to address transboundary issues involving fisheries, wetland, delta, lake and river basin management.

“Very interesting to view photos and information on four countries working together,” said a visitor from New Zealand.

The MRC appreciated the praise and will continue to support its member countries to ensure sustainable management of the river basin.  

“We are deeply honored that people join us to celebrate the Mekong River as a shared resource and embrace the Mekong Spirit of always working together and sharing the benefits through cross-border cooperation,” said An Pich Hatda, MRC’s Director of Planning Division.

As part of the celebration, more than 2,500 MRC calendars featuring the 12 award-winning images have been distributed to government agencies of the four MRC’s member countries, financial partners, non-governmental organizations, embassies and visitors coming to see the exhibition. 

View the electronic version of the winning images here.

Visitors express their views praising the MRC's photo exhibition aimed at increasing awareness of water cooperation.