Socioeconomic Issues Of Mekong And Its People Environmental Sciences Essay

The Mekong Basin encompass a broad scope of geographical differences from cragged country in the North to a more level country in the South, the varied geographicss of the part provide societal differences and similarities. The people in the Mekong part is really diverse, it comprise of many distinguishable ethic groups, many linguistic communications and idioms and have a really rich assortment of civilizations, history and imposts. Historically, grounds of human colony in Mekong river basin dating back to 6000 old ages ago ( 1 ) .

The people that presently busying the Lowlandss of the Mekong part are the ethic Khmers of Cambodia, the Lao of the Lao PDR, the Burman of Myanmar, the Kinh of Vietnam, the Thai of Thailand and the Han of Yunnan Province in China ( 3 ) . Apart from that, there are about 200 cultural minority group lives around the Mekong part. The population of the basin is turning quickly and will go on to turn in the following 20-30 old ages ( 1 ) ; nevertheless most of them still live in poorness.

Most study available focal point chiefly in the lower basin states since approximately 75 % of the basin belongs to Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam and they rely on the basin for societal and economic system. Upper Mekong basin belongs to Myanmar and China, due to miss of study from these two states, the socioeconomic analysis will be chiefly based on the lower Mekong basin. In footings of societal development and gender equity, harmonizing to UNDP Human Development Index, Thailand and Vietnam are in the middle-income states while Cambodia and Lao PDR are low-income. By and large in these states, adult females tend to hold a lower rank than work forces and more prominent in the rural and upland countries.

Due to poverty and hapless H2O direction, the wellness status of people in that part particularly kids and adult females are among the poorest, Malaria and AIDS are taking wellness jobs along with malnutrition.

Access to H2O, sanitation and electricity varies across the lower Mekong basin, Thailand and Vietnam by and large have entree to them, but for Lao PDR and Cambodia, the entree to clean H2O, sanitation and electricity in instead minimum, merely 15 % of families in Cambodia has entree to electricity and 40 % in Lao PDR ( 1 ) . Merely 28 % of population in Cambodia have entree to sanitation as compared to 96 % in Thailand ( 4 ) .

GDP per capita ( 2006 ) of the 4 states are by and large low, Thailand is the highest ( 3000 USD ) while Cambodia are the lowest ( 648 USD ) . More 30 % of population in Cambodia and Lao PDR are below national poorness line, with a malnutrition rate of above 30 % every bit good ( 4 ) .

World Bank Global hungriness index 2009 rates Cambodia as alarming/high exposure while Lao PDR and Vietnam as serious/high exposure.

Table 2 summarizes socioeconomic indexs in the lower Mekong basin states taken from State of Basin Report 2010, Mekong River Commission.






Rural population ( % of entire population 2007 )





Entree to clean H2O ( % population, 2006 )





Improved sanitation ( % population 2006 )





GDP per capita ( USD, 2006 )





Proportion of population below national poorness line





Malnutrition rate ( % , 2007 )





Global hungriness index degree ( 2009 )

Alarming/high exposure

Serious/high exposure

Serious/high exposure

Beginning: State of Basin Report, Mekong River Commission, 2010 ( 4 )

Research estimates that 80 % of population life in the Mekong basin rely on Mekong river for a life, in footings of agribusiness, piscaries, farm animal and forestry ( 5 ) . The Mekong River has one of the universe most abundant piscaries in the universe, and protein is the chief beginnings of protein for most of the population populating around the basin. Apart from fishes, aquatic workss are besides beginning of nutrient, animate being provender and medical specialty in the local market. Particularly of import in the Tonle Sap lake part where the people rely on fishing as a beginning of life. Fishing and agribusiness does lend to one-year GDP for these states.

The status of Mekong basin & A ; acirc ; ˆ™s aquatic ecosystem has been threatened recently by many beginnings. Turning population around the country, hapless H2O resource development, deforestation, river alteration, pollution are some of the menaces towards the Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake.

Figure 2 Land usage of lower Mekong part

Beginning: State of basin study 2003 ( 1 )

Figure 2 shows land usage of the lower Mekong part, as we can see, agriculture plays a really of import economic function in these states, blessed with H2O from the river, suited temperature for agribusiness, it is estimated that 75 % of the population in that part based their life on agribusiness in combination with piscaries, farm animal and forestry.

Agribusiness is divided into 2 classs, one is works of ain ingestion and another is for commercial agribusiness. Commercial agribusiness is chiefly in the lowland country, where entree to H2O is abundant, besides entree to markets. Rice production is one of the chief industries in that part with Vietnam being the universe 2nd largest rice exporter ; rice production besides has been increasing due to high engineering and commercialization of rice agriculture. Non-rice harvests include maizes, java, sugar cane and baccy. One of the biggest challenges of agribusiness in this part is deficiency of market information and substructure which explain the high degree of poorness in this part.

Mekong River is besides used as a agency of conveyance, to transport both goods and people, as it is cheaper than route and air conveyance. This means of transit is particularly of import to the population that lives far off from the route. An estimated of USD4,700 million of trade value where transported on the Mekong river in 2001 ( 1 ) .

Administration of the Mekong

Before the 1990s, there is no individual organic structure that govern the Mekong River. The first effort to develop administration was in 1957 when the Committee for the Coordination of Investigations of the Lower Mekong Basin was established by Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, more by and large known as Mekong Committee. The intent of the commission was turn toing the comprehensive of H2O resources and related resources in the lower Mekong part. In the early yearss, the commission was supported by United Nation & A ; acirc ; ˆ™s Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East ( ECAFE ) and United Nation Development Agency.

The Interim Mekong Committee ( IMC ) was formed in 1978 when Cambodia pulled out from engagement in 1975. The IMC intent was to organize to maximize the societal and economic of the 3 states. It concentrates in countries such as hydroelectric, irrigation, drainage, inundation control steps, pilotage betterments, agribusiness and piscaries.

In 1992, with the aid of Asian Development Bank ( ADB ) , The Greater Mekong Sub part ( GMS ) was formed by China PRC, Lao PRD, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia ( 6 ) . The cooperation was designed to heighten economic dealingss among the states. Harmonizing to Osborne, GMS does non hold any regulative maps, nevertheless is serves as a organic structure for inter-government understanding dialogues ( 5 ) .

In 1995, The Mekong River Commission ( MRC ) was established by an understanding between the authoritiess of Thailand, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Cambodia to replace the Mekong Committee. In 5 April 1995, The Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin was signed, the understanding if to collaborate the field of sustainable development, use, direction and preservation of the H2O and related resources of the Mekong river basin ( 7 ; 8 ) . The MRC promotes action on sustainable development and poorness reliefs as part to the UN Millennium Development Goals.

China and Myanmar refuse to fall in the Mekong River Commission without any grounds that made public. However they are the duologue spouse to MRC. On 2002, China PRIC signed an understanding on the proviso of hydrological information on the Lanchang/Mekong River. China will supply H2O degree informations in the inundation season from two locations located in the upper Mekong. The information is utile for inundation prediction system. First MRC acme and international conference in April 2010 were attended by all member states and duologue spouses. The acme was to discourse the challenges and chance confronting the Mekong basin today ( 9 ) .