Research Reports

Summary state of the basin report 2018

The Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) State of Basin Report is a flagship product of the organisation and an integral part of the MRC’s strategic planning cycle. Compiled about every five years based on the facts and figures of the available data and information, the report assesses conditions within the basin and the impacts, both positive and negative, that development and use of the water and related natural resources are having. The report thus provides a comprehensive basis for the Member Countries and other key stakeholders to discuss and determine appropriate actions by which to realise the MRC’s aims for optimal and sustainable development of the basin as set out in the 1995 Mekong Agreement.

This report recognises that, in recent years, development pressures have increased as a result of growing populations and expanding economies. Whilst living conditions within the basin generally are rapidly improving, this has come at some considerable cost to the environment. Key areas of concern that require our specific attention are the seemingly permanent modification of mainstream flow regime, the substantial reduction in sediment flows due to sediment trapping, the continuing loss of wetlands, the deterioration of riverine habitats and the growing pressures on capture fisheries. At present, although temperature and sea level rise are the only discernible impacts of climate change within the basin thus far, I am pleased to note that Member Countries are actively putting measures in place to address the predicted future changes. This report also recognises that use of the water and natural resources within the basin is giving rise to substantial economic benefits. At present, we should take note that these are not equally shared as some Member Countries have only recently started to develop their potential. Concerns naturally exist, however, at the evident trade-offs between some of these developments and their negative impacts upon the environment.