Key results for 2010
1) MWD provided local fishers around Tonle Sap, the opportunity to have their voices heard, in relation to the hundreds of millions of dollars of ongoing investments around the lake. A workshop of representatives of fishing communities from around the lake was held to provide the opportunity for them to express their concerns, which were then synthesized and presented to a number of government agencies in a Tonle Sap Forum, organized by MWD. The results were further reported to the Prime Minister’s Office, and two days later newspapers carried the story of the Prime Minister’s stern warning to the Governor’s of all provinces around Tonle Sap lake to do their job better.
1) With strong support from MWD, and after many years, the government of Lao PDR finally fully embraced the Ramsar Convention, and identified the country’s first two Ramsar sites – Beung Kiat Ngong in Champasak Province, and Xe Champone in Savanakhet Province. These designations were based on an inclusive decision-making process with local government and local people.
Again with support from MWD a National Wetlands Committee has been established, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, and at the site level in BKN, MWD has established a District Committee whose membership includes local community representatives, to oversee management implementation. (The local committee is modelled on a similar successful approach in Ramsar sites in NE Thailand, which gained significant support from local people in BKN after MWD arranged a study visit for them to NE Thailand). The government of Lao PDR has agreed to develop a Master Plan and investment Road Map for Ramsar implementation in the country, and has requested further MWD support for this.
2) A new Lao Water Policy (2010-2020) and Water Strategy (2010-2015) were developed by the Water Resources and Environment Administration (WREA). Learning from MWD, the Department of Water Resources opened up the process of deliberation to a wide range of inputs. The National Working Group of MWD provided a platform to compile inputs, and NWG members attended a final stakeholder workshop on the Policy and Strategy.
1) Over 180 representatives of local community groups from 10 river basins came together in a workshop and synthesized over a decade of experience in Tai Baan research approaches (villager-led participatory action research) in relation to water resource management. This valuable compilation is now being used as the basis for developing a training manual and extension efforts to promote the replication of Tai Baan approaches in additional areas both within Thailand and in neighbouring countries.
A new focus of these efforts is Loei Province in Thailand, and Xayabouri Province in Lao PDR, where local communities believe that Tai Baan approaches will help them to fill gaps in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and mitigation strategies of the proposed Xayabouri Dam in Lao PDR.
1) A new draft National Target Programme (NTP) on Water was developed that is intended to guide implementation in the water sector for a number of years to come, with the MWD NWG deliberating on an early draft version of the document and providing important input. Importantly, the NTP includes provisions on stakeholder participation in water resources management.
2) An opportunity was provided for local voices to be heard in relation to water pollution in craft villages, through a series of commune and district multi-stakeholder dialogues, the results and recommendations of which are now being passed up through the system.
3) MWD assisted the Government of Viet Nam in preparing the nomination of Ba Be as its third Ramsar site and is currently supporting the potential nomination of Tram Chim as the fourth site.