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The Mekong River: geopolitics over development, hydropower and the environment

18-11-2019

The Mekong River is a vital source of livelihoods and economic activity in continental South-East Asia and extends from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea. Its length is 4 800 km. More than half circulates in China, but its channel runs through Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The Mekong has the world's largest inland freshwater fishery industry, vital to the region's food security, representing around USD 3 000 million per year. Its unique and rich biological habitat provides ...

The Mekong River is a vital source of livelihoods and economic activity in continental South-East Asia and extends from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea. Its length is 4 800 km. More than half circulates in China, but its channel runs through Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The Mekong has the world's largest inland freshwater fishery industry, vital to the region's food security, representing around USD 3 000 million per year. Its unique and rich biological habitat provides diverse livelihoods as well as four fifths of the animal protein for more than 60 million people. At the level of biodiversity, the importance of this river for global nature is vital. The Mekong region is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and to the degradation of ecosystems. The uncontrolled growth of the population both in China and in Southeast Asia is exerting unsustainable pressure on the Mekong in terms of a massive exploitation of all kinds of resources linked to the River: water, food, wood, energy, especially recent infrastructure and hydropower development, together with deforestation, illegal wildlife trade and habitat fragmentation. Water scarcity leads to reduced agricultural productivity, unemployment and poverty Four countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam) formed an intergovernmental agency in 1950, The Mekong River Commission (MRC), to defend the sustainable development of the Mekong River and to plan its future. The absence of China and Myanmar mitigates and erodes the effective dialogue of the MRC on the management of the River. The lack of implementing mechanisms denatures the organization itself..

Global Trendometer

06-10-2016

With the publication of this inaugural edition of the "Global Trendometer," the EPRS Global Trends Unit seeks to contribute to the process of identifying and addressing medium- and long-term trends, and their possible implications for policy-making in the European Union. Three essays and eight two-page vignettes on different geopolitical, economic, technological and social issues paint a broad-ranging picture of developments that may shape Europe’s future.  

With the publication of this inaugural edition of the "Global Trendometer," the EPRS Global Trends Unit seeks to contribute to the process of identifying and addressing medium- and long-term trends, and their possible implications for policy-making in the European Union. Three essays and eight two-page vignettes on different geopolitical, economic, technological and social issues paint a broad-ranging picture of developments that may shape Europe’s future.  

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