Mekong Citizens Engaged in Water, Food, and Energy Development Dialogue
Water resources in the Mekong region are being rapidly and systematically developed, and many important decisions about the future development of the rivers in the region are being made. The quality of future development will have major impacts on the 300 million people who live in the Mekong region.
The development debate in the region has been dominated by polarized positions as well as restricted access. CPWF-Mekong convened the first annual Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy to create a space for open and constructive dialogue on how to address sustainability issues within the context of water, food and energy.
One hundred and eighty nine representatives from government, research institutions, NGOs and industry participated in the forum, which took place in Phnom Penh. Delegates came from as far-away places as Australia, Germany, Sweden and Kenya, but most importantly the event allowed citizens from the Mekong countries to participate in an open and constructive dialogue about the ongoing development in the region.
One of the primary purposes of the Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy was to provide a platform for diverse presenters to give their views on key issues related to sustainable hydropower. Notable discussions pointed out the need to use suitable tools to ensure sustainable development, to encourage multiple uses of water resources, to regulate development wisely, and, not least, to seek transparency and accountability in the decision-making that guides the development in the region.
The forum succeeded in strengthening the regional dialogue on water, food and energy development, by providing an innovative dialogue space that allowed for discussions to take place on equal terms. A second Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy is expected to take place in December 2012 in Hanoi.
The Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy was convened by the Challenge Program on Water and Food. The event was co-hosted by the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MOWRAM) and the Supreme National Economic Council (SNEC) of the Royal Government of Cambodia, the Mekong Program on Water, Food and Resilience (M-POWER) and Oxfam. The forum is funded by the Australian Government, through AusAID.
The Second Annual Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy will take place on November 13-15, 2012 in Hanoi, Vietnam.