ecently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature organised the second Leadership Committee meeting of the Ha Long – Cat Ba Alliance (HLCBA) in Hai Phong City to discuss improved environment management in Vietnam’s leading tourism attraction. Among the participants were leaders from Quang Ninh and Hai Phong People’s Committees, representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the US Embassy, represented by US Deputy Chief of Mission Susan Sutton, US Agency for International Development (USAID), and Agence Francaise de Development (AFD).
The Mekong River Commission (MRC), the only intergovernmental body mandated to sustainably manage and protect the Lower Mekong River, is on the brink of demise. While transboundary water governance has faced significant challenges in the region since the MRC was established in 1995, the Commission’s first real test came more recently with the start of the regional debate over plans to build a cascade of eleven mainstream dams on the Lower Mekong River. It was a test that the MRC has so far failed. The real question now, is will the MRC sink or swim? Just as the Mekong River ebbs and flows, can the MRC change the tide of decision-making to fit the urgent needs of a shared river basin where more than 60 million people are deeply dependent on the river functioning as it has for centuries: A key source of livelihoods, food security, and cultural identity?
Residents of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta have raised objections to the Don Sahong hydropower dam that Laos plans to build on the Mekong River's main stream. The objections came in late November after the Hanoi-based Green Innovation and Development Center, the Center for Biodiversity and Development at Vietnam Rivers Network, and local authorities finished a nearly two-week survey in communes in Can Tho and the five provinces of Ca Mau, Soc Trang, An Giang, Kien Giang, Vinh Long.
Vietnamese environmentalists say the hydropower race unfolding on the lower Mekong River will destroy the delta's downstream economy. Experts at a Tuesday conference in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang called the dams "bombs" looming over millions of people, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.