In the countries of the Mekong Region: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, environmental sustainability continues to be a major concern. As rapid economic growth and increased regional economic integration continues apace, environmental degradation is taking a huge toll on ecosystems and livelihoods. Poverty and social inequality – including gender inequality – remain significant challenges in the Mekong Region.
In addition, climate change is already causing severe negative impacts on many food-producing areas of the Mekong Region, increasing the risks of food and water insecurity. Droughts and floods occur with more frequency and intensity, with the most marginalized communities often the most affected by climate disasters.
Over the last five years, research partners in the Sustainable Mekong Research Network (SUMERNET) have led interdisciplinary, cross-national research studies on major policy issues; engaged with policymakers, planners and stakeholders; and built capacity among both researchers and policymakers. SUMERNET has attempted to better understand environmental challenges in the Mekong Region and provide policy solutions based on the close engagement of the project teams with local and national policymakers and other partners.
Each study involved seeking the input and involvement of actors at all levels, from individual farmers, fishers and rural households to policymakers and government administrators, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations, and local academic experts.
This volume will help readers better understand the range and intensity of these environmental issues including the impacts of climate change and help support solutions at local, national and transboundary levels towards addressing these critical environmental and development challenges in the Mekong Region.