From the Tibetan Plateau to the Mekong Delta

Online - Zurich Time

Zooming in from the global picture to Asia, Dr. Susanne Schmeier, senior lecturer in water law and diplomacy at IHE Delft, will open up this webcast, followed by a discussion on the Mekong region with Dr. Anoulak Kittikhoun, chief strategy and partnership officer of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat, and Apichai Sunchindah, an independent development specialist with interest in the Mekong region and Southeast Asia.

As the largest reserve of fresh water outside the polar regions, the Tibetan Plateau is the source of long and significant rivers. This includes the Mekong River, one of the most biodiverse rivers, which flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. When Laos went ahead with the first mainstream hydropower projects downstream of China, fierce debates among the riparian states and public contestations have emerged as the Mekong, one of the last (almost) free flowing rivers, is undergoing rapid changes. Trade-offs are high: Unforeseen impacts on fisheries and sediment affecting the Mekong delta.

Why is the development of the Mekong drawing so much international attention? What are the main interests by its riparian states and major power rivalries, such as China and the U.S.? As the livelihood of millions of people depends on this river, can their interest be met amid ongoing debates on the development and management of the basin? And how does the Mekong context compare to other regions in Asia and the world?


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