Mekong Water Dialogues Meeting: Setting up a Future Action Plan in Cambodia

13 May 2013 | Article

Pursat, CambodiaIUCN Cambodia organized a two-day Mekong Water Dialogues (MWD) National Working Group meeting, bringing together ten members and key stakeholders from the Fisheries Administration to share and exchange knowledge to set up an action plan for the future. It aimed to provide information about MWD progress activities from 2012-13 and to discuss the 2013 work plan. Its objective was also to find solutions to climate change vulnerabilities in the Tonle Sap area, and to define actions for sustainable natural resource management in the Boeung Chmmar Ramsar Site.

Chaired by Dr. SRENG Sunleang, Director of the Wetland Department and Chair Person of MWD National Working Group, the National Working Group meeting was held in Pursat province, Cambodia. Its key objective was to provide information about MWD progress from 2012 to early 2013 and to discuss the MWD Work Plan for 2013. The meeting also aimed to find ways to cope with climate change impacts in Tonle Sap as well as to define priority actions for sustainable natural resource management in the Boeung Chmmar Ramsar Site.

Mr SORN Pheakdey, Water and Wetlands Field Coordinator of IUCN Cambodia, highlighted the key progress made in 2012 and early 2013, which contributed to decision-making and management of water resources and wetlands through information sharing, dialogue and consensus-building at local, national and regional levels. This resulted in key activities such as clear boundary demarcation, law enforcement, habitat rehabilitation, public awareness, and monitoring and evaluation.

“Our work mainly focuses on building the capacity of the local community as well as providing and sharing technical inputs with a community perspective. The action plan for 2013 will focus on supporting Biodiversity and Fishery Resources Monitoring in Boeung Chmmar Ramsar Site, strengthening small-scale fishers to manage natural resources, supporting gender initiatives through networking, and promoting ecosystem-based adaptation and resilience to climate change”, said Mr Pheakdey.

The meeting also discussed the challenges of climate change to fishery resources in Boeung Tonle Chhmar and solutions to cope with this. After the meeting, the participants visited Boeung Tonle Chhmar to better understand climate change impacts on the fishery resources which recently suffered because of a damaging storm that killed more than 20 tonnes of fish, including two Mekong Giant Barbs which are listed amongst IUCN’s critical endangered species. The catastrophic death of fish occurred due to shallow waters and high concentration of sediment, as a result of the extended dry season.

Addressing the concerns, Mr HENG Sovannara, Deputy Director of Fisheries Conservation Department, Fisheries Administration (FiA) said, “I will bring this issue to the attention of H.E. Nao Thuok, head of the FiA. I strongly support IUCN, the Ministry of Environment, and the FiA to continue working together to improve livelihoods of the local community.” In addition, Mr Long Sochet, MWD National Working Group member and Head of Coalition of Cambodia Fishers was interested in raising the concerns of the fishing community to all relevant stakeholders whenever he has opportunity to do so.

The field visit enhanced the understanding of the participants; that ecosystem-based resilience and adaptation to climate change is urgently needed. It is suggested that the immediate solution is to promote public awareness amongst local communities about the concept of sustainability. The participants will report these concerns to their organizations and networks.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. KONG Kimsreng, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN Cambodia

Mr. SORN Pheakdey, Water and Wetlands Coordinator, IUCN Cambodia

Ms. SAY Chenda, Communicaiton Officer, IUCN Cambodia