Representatives from the Lao government, civil society and business sectors met in Pakxe district, Champassak province, on Monday and Tuesday this week to debate priority water issues for Laos .
According to a press release from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), more than 50 participants from the Lao government at the central, provincial and district levels, development agencies, non-government organisations and business came together to discuss policies relevant to Laos's key water resource sectors. These include hydropower, irrigation, fisheries, mining, water supply, water sanitation and tourism.
Priority issues for the Mekong Region Water Dialogues (MRWD) programme to address in Laos were also debated.
The conservation and sustainable use of wetlands was also an issue of particular importance for the participants, with the Lao government currently considering adoption of the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
The workshop participants visited Ban Kiet Ngong, a candidate site for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, as well as the Siphandone wetlands.
The MRWD was launched by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Vientiane last year. It is a three year programme that aims to improve water governance in the Mekong region by strengthening a water network between decision-makers from government, business and community sectors.
The dialogues will take place at both the national and regional level.