SCOPING STUDY



 Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic
Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Low...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study




MEMBERS OF THE SCOPING TEAM:

Dr. Christophe BÉNÉ (2)
Mr. Tim BOSTOCK (1)
Mr. Tom JOL...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study


                               EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The aquatic natural resources of the ...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

      component), but also initiate a process of policy-making improvements to ensure th...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study


CONTENTS

                                                                             ...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study


                                 1. INTRODUCTION

The Mekong is one of the largest rive...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

(i)     Research needs: to identify and articulate in a precise way the key research
   ...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study



Phase 2a (November – December 2001):
Liaison with stakeholder organisations in Mekong ...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

For the majority of the rural people of the Lower Mekong Basin (60 million), aquatic
res...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

becoming an area of increasingly important work within the context of analysing the
deve...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

may impute value in a different way. For example, they might value the Mekong for
naviga...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

research and development projects operating in the region, both national and
internation...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

Mekong River Basin. It was further specified that the programme should be fully
coherent...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

In other words, the implementation of appropriate river basin management policies which
...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

and testing of methods for constituency formation and representation with the policy-
ma...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

(c) There is already a well-established base of knowledge on the fisheries and other
   ...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study



(a) Who should implement the research?
(b) Who should manage the research?
(c) How sho...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

implementation in developing countries. Using both UK-based and local collaborators to
i...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study

the activities of many of the other organisations. An important task, therefore, of the
...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study



Table 1. PROJECT FRAMEWORK:
Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of ...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study



                                 2.3. Future resource management options identified an...
Mekong River Basin Scoping Study



TABLE: 2           INDICATIVE SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES

Y                               ...
Appendix (I)

      (A) TERMS OF REFERENCE

(B) RESPONSE TO TERMS OF REFERENCE




                 18
Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference


           (A) TERMS OF REFERENCE: MEKONG SCOPING STUDY

Background: Throughout the wo...
Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference

and will inform and support regional and international development objectives in the
ri...
Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference

Project Framework


   Narrative Summary                     OVIs                  MoV ...
Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference


    Narrative Summary             OVIs                  MoV   Assumptions

           ...
Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference


         (B) SIFAR/CEMARE RESPONSE TO TERMS OF REFERENCE

Introduction
The overall obj...
Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference


•   Identify who are the principal stakeholders likely to be affected by policy decisi...
Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference

Phase 2:      Visit to key organisations in SE Asia, field visits in Mekong study,
    ...
Appendix (II)

LIST OF KEY INTERVIEWEES




            26
Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees


CAMBODIA

  !"Mr. Sarthi ACHARYA,
    Research Director, Cambodia Development Research ...
Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees

  !"Mr. Ka MING,
    Technical Adviser, SCALE (NGO), nr. Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
  !"Mr. T...
Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees

  !"Mr. Jim CHAMBERLAIN,
    Social Assessment and Policy Consultant, Vientiane, Lao PDR...
Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees

!"Mr. Premrudee EANG,
  NGO Director, Project for Ecology Recovery (PER) & Towards Ecolo...
Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees

  !"Dr. Amararathne YAKUPITIYAGE,
    Associate Professor and Co-ordinator, Agricultural...
Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees

     Environment and Fisheries Resources, 116 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Dist., Ho Chi
     Minh...
Appendix (III)


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, LIVELIHOODS
     AND THE ROLE OF MEKONG IN
THAILAND, CAMBODIA VIETNAM AND LAOS:
   ...
Appendix (III) - Overview of Lower Mekong Basin


     Economic development, livelihoods and the role of Mekong in
       ...
Appendix (III) - Overview of Lower Mekong Basin

  has gone through similar processes, it has managed to achieve much bett...
Appendix (III) - Overview of Lower Mekong Basin

economic "slumber". Even with the possible and dramatic advent of hydropo...
Appendix (III) - Overview of Lower Mekong Basin


2.1.2. Significance of LMB to Thailand
The basin covers about 183000 km2...
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin
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Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin

  1. 1. SCOPING STUDY Design of a Research Programme for the Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Basin. Report prepared for The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) by The Centre for the Economics & Management of Aquatic Resources (CEMARE) University of Portsmouth & Support unit for International Fisheries & Aquatic Research (SIFAR) Department of Fisheries United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization Rome, Italy Final Version - March 2002 i
  2. 2. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study MEMBERS OF THE SCOPING TEAM: Dr. Christophe BÉNÉ (2) Mr. Tim BOSTOCK (1) Mr. Tom JOLLEY (2) Mr. Roger LEWINS (2) Dr. Arthur E. NEILAND (Team Leader) (2) Dr. Premachandra WATTAGE (2) Dr. David J. WHITMARSH (2) (1) FAO/SIFAR Vialle delle Terme di Caracalla Rome 00100 Italy Web-site address: http://www.onefish.org (2) Centre for the Economics & Management of Aquatic Resources (CEMARE) University of Portsmouth Locksway Road PORTSMOUTH Hants PO4 8JF United Kingdom Web-site address: http://www.port.ac.uk/econ/cemare i
  3. 3. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The aquatic natural resources of the Lower Mekong Basin are vast and have a significant potential for contributing to the development of the riparian countries (Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam). At the present time, the aquatic resources play a significant role in providing a basis for the livelihoods of millions of rural people. The fact that the Lower Mekong Basin is shared by 4 countries, with different economic, political and social characteristics, means that the design of coherent policies for appropriate resource management is complicated and difficult. At the same time, the inter-connection of these countries, at all levels, means that coherent policies for the Mekong Basin are essential in order to avoid creating a situation of disadvantage between neighbours, which could lead to conflict. Successful policies for aquatic resource management which will lead to appropriate development outcomes have at least three fundamental requirements: (i) Information to enable the identification of policy options; (ii) Policy-making processes which enable effective decision-making and the selection of a particular option; (iii) Effective policy implementation through appropriate institutional arrangements and resource management systems. The reality of policy-making and implementation for aquatic resource management in the Mekong Basin at the present time is deficient in all these fundamental areas. With regards to information requirements, in particular, it is widely acknowledged that there is a lack of information and understanding concerning the social and economic value of aquatic resources. Undoubtedly, the fact that this information is deficient means that the identification and choice of policy options is also deficient, leading to a high risk of sub- optimal development outcomes. As a result of a Scoping Study undertaken by CEMARE/SIFAR between October 2001 and January 2002, which involved visits, key interviews and the review of literature in all four riparian countries of the Lower Mekong Basin, a draft design for a new research programme entitled ‘the social and economic valuation of aquatic resources in the Lower Mekong River Basin’ has been produced. This is based on 4-year programme duration. Recommendations Subsequent to a presentation and discussion of the findings of this Scoping Study at DFID headquarters, the key recommendations emerging, which have shaped the design of the research programme, include the following: (a) The new research programme should address the goal of how to achieve the implementation of policies which contribute to regional sustainable development and equitable river basin management; (b) The new research programme should include the generation of information on social/economic values to assist better understanding (a ‘conventional’ research ii
  4. 4. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study component), but also initiate a process of policy-making improvements to ensure that all stakeholders participate in decision-making related to resource usage and management (an ‘action research’ component); in other words, the generation of information alone will not be sufficient to achieve the desired development outcome, instead information generation and policy-making reform need to be addressed in parallel; (c) The new research programme should operate initially in Cambodia, hosted by the Mekong River Commission (MRC), and in association with the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), subject to agreements being reached with these respective organizations. Within MRC, it is recommended the research programme be based within the Environment Programme whilst maintaining close operational ties with the Fisheries Programme. With regard to ICLARM, it is recommended the programme provide support and advice as appropriate to the MRC- based project The Legal and Institutional Framework, and Economic Valuation of Resources and Environment in the Mekong River Region: A Wetlands Approach; (d) The new research programme should endeavour to build strong collaborative relationships with all relevant stakeholders and other research programmes to facilitate its activities and maximise its impact; (e) Moreover, although the new research programme would operate initially in Cambodia, it should examine effective ways of involving the other riparian countries of the Lower Mekong Basin in programme implementation and strategy, as well as in the dissemination and utilisation of outputs. Although opportunities to do this will naturally arise through the regional focus of MRC, the prospects of an eventual expansion of the research programme to more adequately cover respective national institutional needs should be envisaged; (f) In this regard, efforts should be made by the new research programme (with ad hoc support from other international agencies) to facilitate assistance from other donors; (g) An appropriate level of technical assistance to manage and implement the new research programme should be furnished. Although budgetary resources are likely to be a key determining factor in this regard, the allocation of appropriately qualified personnel is considered prerequisite to the programme’s success. Such support should be designed to complement the respective MRC and ICLARM programmes with reporting arrangements agreed with respective Programme Leaders. The administrative arrangements to support this input would be subject to agreement with MRC and ICLARM. Consideration could be given to utilising the Associate Professional Officer scheme if suitably qualified candidates are available. (h) DFID should ensure early agreement is sought with both MRC and ICLARM regarding the recommendations made in paras (c) and (g) above. iii
  5. 5. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study CONTENTS Page Executive summary ii 1. Introduction 1 2. Definition of objectives & output 1 2.1. Overall objective 2.2. Definition of specific objectives 2.3. Output 3. General approach and implementation schedule 2 3.1. General approach 3.2. Implementation schedule 4. Key findings 3 5. Programme design 7 6. Conclusions and recommendations 13 Appendices (I) Terms of Reference. 18 (II) List of key interviewees. 26 (III) Economic development, livelihoods and the role of the Mekong in 33 Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos: an overview. (IV) Key issues related to the Mekong aquatic resources and their 43 management. (V) Profile of the existing research and development programmes related 53 to aquatic resources in the Mekong Basin (plus an assessment of their potential for collaboration in a new research programme on economic and social valuation). (VI) Economic valuation of aquatic resources 62 (VII) Livelihood analysis of aquatic resources 75 (VIII) Literature Search and Bibliographic References 82 iv
  6. 6. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study 1. INTRODUCTION The Mekong is one of the largest rivers in the world, with a basin shared by six countries (China, Burma, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam). Although all these countries increasingly show signs of economic development, a large proportion of their rural populations remain dependent upon natural resources for their livelihoods. Many of the poorest and most vulnerable people live in the Mekong Basin, where aquatic resources form an important component of their livelihood activities, typically centered around farming and fishing. In general, the relationship between human society and the natural resources of the Mekong basin is poorly understood. This is reflected in the national policy frameworks for the management and development of aquatic resources which have emerged. For example, at the national level, the riparian countries of the basin have each pursued their own policies for water usage, including dam construction for irrigation and power generation. Unfortunately, these policies have failed to consider the true economic and social value of the river system in a natural (unmodified) state. As a result the negative impact of major modifications such as dams upon the livelihoods of affected user groups, through loss of access to resources, modification of flood regimes and other effects, has not been recognised either. The need to understand the relationships between the Mekong river and the people who depend on its aquatic resources, and to establish the value of naturally flooding rivers has been highlighted by a number of studies. In response, DFID has decided to establish a research programme to generate knowledge which will contribute toward a better understanding of the full value of the aquatic resources and inform and direct both policy and decision-making in the river basin. In November 2001, DFID (through FAO/SIFAR) commissioned CEMARE to undertake a Scoping Study to design an appropriate research programme. The Terms of Reference and the subsequent Response from SIFAR/CEMARE are given in Appendix (I). 2. DEFINITION OF OBJECTIVES AND OUTPUT 2.1. Overall objective The overall objective of the Scoping Study is to design a research programme to establish the full social and economic value of the aquatic resources of the Mekong River. 2.2. Specific objectives In response to the Scope of Work requested by the TOR (Appendix I), it was agreed that the study would address the following specific objectives: 1
  7. 7. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study (i) Research needs: to identify and articulate in a precise way the key research questions which need investigation, and highlight how these are relevant to policy; (ii) Policy and institutional context: to identify and undertake a preliminary characterisation of the policy frameworks which affect the Mekong river basin; (iii) Stakeholder characterization: to identify who are the principal stakeholders likely to be affected by policy decisions; (iv) Existing knowledge base: to identify what knowledge is available to answer these questions (above), where knowledge gaps exist, and how easily could these gaps could be filled; (v) Skills assessment: to establish what skills and specialist expertise would be required to do the research and to manage research programme implementation. 2.3. Output The information collected during the study (above) will be used to design and propose an appropriate research programme and a management plan to ensure effective implementation. The current report systematically addresses each of the specific objectives and then outlines the design for the research programme. Additional relevant information, providing detailed accounts on particular subjects, is included in a series of appendices. 3. GENERAL APPROACH AND IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE 3.1. General approach The CEMARE team drew upon their expertise in the area of social and economic analysis of aquatic resource management to address the specific objectives of the study. This includes field experience in both developed and developing countries. It was intended that relevant primary information would be collected through a series of key interviews with stakeholders and field-visits in the Mekong Basin. This would also be supplemented by secondary information provided by both the formal and grey literature. 3.2. Implementation schedule The Scoping Study was implemented in three phases (as originally proposed): Phase 1 (October 2001): Initial preparation, collation of secondary information, briefing with SIFAR and DFID, liaison with staff in SE Asia (DFID, FAO, MRC). Initial meeting with Scoping Study Steering Committee (London). Preliminary visit to Thailand and Cambodia by AN/TB to liaise with a range of stakeholder organisations and prepare for main field-visit. Planning of Phase 2. 2
  8. 8. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study Phase 2a (November – December 2001): Liaison with stakeholder organisations in Mekong Basin. CEMARE/SIFAR team visit Thailand, Cambodia and Laos to conduct key interviews (see Appendix IV). Also collect more literature. Also attend MRC Annual Technical Meeting (Phnom Penh) and undertake field-visit along Mekong and Tonle Sap in Cambodia. Write-up of field results. Phase 2b (January 2002): Liaison with stakeholder organisations in Vietnam. CEMARE team visit Vietnam, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City, to conduct key interviews. Collect further literature. Field-visit undertaken in Mekong Delta. Phase 3: (January – February 2002): Collation, analysis, review, write-up of findings, production of draft research programme design, identification and assessment of management alternatives, presentation to Scoping Study Steering Committee. 4. KEY FINDINGS In this brief section, the main findings of the Scoping Study are summarized. Much of this information is also provided in greater detail in the appendices to this report. The information in this section is provided as an introduction to the actual research programme design which follows thereafter. 4.1. Identification of key research questions 4.1.1. There is a need to understand both the national and basin-wide context of aquatic resource usage, and the inter-dependency of stakeholders at all levels. The aquatic resources of the Lower Mekong Basin are shared by four countries (Appendix III). Each country has its own particular characteristics (social, cultural, economic, political) which influence the way in which the aquatic resources are utilized. Some of the riparian countries are more developed than others, and this also determines the role of the Mekong and its resources within their development plans. At the same time, all the countries of the Mekong have a certain inter-dependency, and resource utilization by stakeholders in one part of the basin will impact other uses by other stakeholders elsewhere. However, at the present time, there is a relatively limited understanding of the relationships which underlie aquatic resource usage at all levels – local, national and international. 4.1.2. There is a need to understand the contribution of aquatic resources to rural livelihoods and to evaluate the threats to this role (with particular reference to poverty) 3
  9. 9. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study For the majority of the rural people of the Lower Mekong Basin (60 million), aquatic resources are believed to play a crucial role in their livelihoods (Appendixes III and IV). Fish, in particular, is the most important protein source and together with rice is essential for food security. However, the natural resource base of the Mekong is threatened by a range of factors, particularly environmental degradation as the result of pollution, deforestation and dam projects, as well as increasing population pressure and associated overexploitation. At present, the level of understanding of the role of natural resources in livelihoods and the likely impact of the forces of change is limited. 4.1.3. There is a need to understand the impact of current natural resource management strategies and policies both on local populations and the environment and to use this as basis to develop appropriate strategies and policies in the future. The natural resources of the Mekong Basin offer huge potential for development at all levels if managed appropriately. Currently, they have a major role in supporting the livelihoods of millions of rural people. However, it is also possible that the aquatic resources could be used as a basis for economic development strategies which emphasize economic growth, the generation of economic surpluses and re-investment of revenues earned in other parts of the national economy such as industry. For example, the generation and sale of electricity through hydro-electric dams may help to achieve this outcome. The design of appropriate policies in the future, which seek to optimise the usage of the aquatic resources of the Mekong, will need to understand the impact and performance of current policies and management strategies. This will require a range of information, and in particular, social and economic information on the trade-offs between different resource usage strategies. 4.2. Policy and institutional context The research needs identified above, covering three broad areas of concern for the management of Mekong aquatic resources and its impact, place an emphasis on generating information and analysis which will help to promote a better understanding of key issues. Under the linear model of policy-making and implementation, it is assumed that benign policy-makers will utilise the new information and better understanding to improve policy design for the benefit of society. In this situation, research and research scientists play the traditional role of information providers for policy-makers, who make policy decisions and then hand these decisions down to administrators (managers) for implementation through various management arrangements. Unfortunately, in many developing countries, policy-making and implementation systems in all sectors do not conform to this linear model. Instead, within weak states, policy- makers do not act benignly and decisions are taken to favour certain powerful sectors of society, rather than for society’s benefit as a whole. In fact, the majority of society are usually excluded from any involvement in the policy-making process. Furthermore, the institutions which make up the state in this situation often lack the capacity for effective information-gathering and analysis to assist or change the policy-making process. This, of course, is the domain of politics and political economy research, and while it is 4
  10. 10. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study becoming an area of increasingly important work within the context of analysing the development performance of countries, it still remains relatively youthful in its achievements. In the case of the countries of the Mekong Basin, there is a large general literature on their political and economic characteristics. There are however very few studies on policy and policy-making processes which affect the management of natural resources, especially aquatic natural resources (Appendix VIII). The implications of this situation are as follows: (a) The generation on information on the social and economic aspects of aquatic natural resources in the Mekong is important, but it is doubtful if this alone will help to promote the development of appropriate policies for resource management in the future (given the fact that the non-linear policy-making model tends to predominate in the countries of the Mekong Basin); (b) The utility of the information generated might be greatly increased by a better understanding of the policy-making processes involved (if one assumes that the persistence of the non-linear policy-making model is in part dependent upon asymmetry of information access and flow); (c) The fact that the non-linear model of policy-making is also characterised by a lack of participation in decision-making by a majority of stakeholders also needs to be addressed. Greater participation, in particular by primary stakeholders (e.g. fishers, farmers) is essential for the successful design and implementation of appropriate resource management policies. 4.3. The stakeholders of the Mekong Basin The Lower Mekong Basin currently has a population of almost 60 million people in all the 4 riparian countries. The policies which currently dictate aquatic resource management in the region affect all of these stakeholders, but in different ways. For the majority, the primary stakeholders (rural households who farm and fish), the policy framework of their countries is a key factor in determining their livelihood options and livelihood strategies. In the case of countries such as Cambodia and Lao PDR, where the economy is relatively small and undiversified, the majority of primary stakeholders have few opportunities (or incentives) to look beyond the river basin and its natural resources for a livelihood. For these primary stakeholders, the aquatic resources are highly valuable. Of course, the primary stakeholders are a highly diverse socio-economic group, and the significance or value attached to the aquatic resources by each will depend upon their relative status (e.g. rich compared to impoverished stakeholders). For the minority, the secondary or external stakeholders, who do not depend upon the aquatic resources of the Mekong Basin in a ‘direct’ or ‘consumptive’ way, this group 5
  11. 11. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study may impute value in a different way. For example, they might value the Mekong for navigation or as a potential source of irrigation water or hydro-electric power. The important issue, of course, is that for the development of a country or a society, the most appropriate policy choices must be made in all domains of potential intervention. In the case of natural resource management, if there is an optimal policy choice to promote economic development, for example, then this needs to be made taking into consideration the possible benefits and costs of this particular choice. At the present time, there is a strong perception that in most of the countries of the Mekong Basin, policy decisions affecting aquatic resources are currently being made (or influenced) by the minority of secondary or external stakeholders. There appears to be little involvement or reference to the majority of primary stakeholders, and the choices which they might make, on the basis of their valuation of the aquatic resources. The overall outcome, therefore, is likely to be an inappropriate (or sub-optimal) policy, which undervalues the aquatic resources in general, and which promotes a sub-optimal development pathway or outcome. 4.4. Information and information gaps There exists a large and growing literature on the Mekong Basin and its aquatic resources. However, given the size and complexity of the resource system at all levels, it is not surprising that there are important information gaps. From a preliminary analysis of the literature, there appears to be good understanding of the physical (e.g. hydrology), environmental (e.g. land/water use) and biological (e.g. fish stocks) characteristics of the Mekong Basin (Appendix VIII). The main gaps remain in the areas of economic, social, institutional, policy and political knowledge. Without this full complement of multi- disciplinary information it is difficult to produce an overview of the Mekong Basin and to document and explain the actual (or potential) impact of policies on regional or national development (as highlighted in Sections 4.1. & 4.2. above). The main knowledge gaps need to filled with work in the following research areas: (a) Economics: What is the economic value of the aquatic resources and river as it naturally flows? (Appendix VI); What contribution do the resources make to livelihoods? (Appendix VII); (b) Social: What is the composition of the stakeholder groups? What is the relationship between these groups? (c) Institutional: What are the main institutional and organisational arrangements which affect the management and use of the aquatic resources? (d) Policy: What are the current policy arrangements? What is the performance of policy in terms of economic, social and development indicators? (e) Politics: How do different stakeholder groups in society affect policy-making and implementation? What incentives could lead to changes in policy and policy-making in order to promote sustainable development? The extent to which the knowledge gaps above could be filled within the short-term depends on a number of factors. From a positive perspective, there are a large number of 6
  12. 12. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study research and development projects operating in the region, both national and international, some of which have research components (although environmental and ecological research predominates). Furthermore, social scientists can capitalise upon the knowledge of the resource systems already accumulated by natural scientists. From a negative perspective, the size and complexity of the social science knowledge gaps within the Mekong Basin are considerable. Many of the subject areas are also sensitive and difficult to research. Finally, there is a lack of local research capacity which will need to be addressed also. 4.5. Research skills and research management The type of social science research which is needed to fill the important knowledge gaps identified briefly above require specialists in these areas, as follows: (a) Economics: Economists with experience of environmental valuation, including techniques such as economic impact and efficiency assessment, cost-benefit analysis, contingent valuation (Appendix VI); Also social scientists with experience of livelihood analysis and socio-economics assessment techniques (Appendix VII); (b) Social: Social scientists with expertise in stakeholder analysis; (c) Institutional: Social scientists with expertise in institutional analysis; Also legal analysis; (d) Policy: Policy analysts and development experts; experience of policy performance assessment; (e) Political: Political scientists with experience of developing countries, constituency formation and the nature and impact of political change. As indicated above, the Mekong Region has some capacity in all these areas, both national and international. However, there is no doubt that further capacity-building will be required. A further factor which needs to be considered is the potential benefits which can be realised from the close collaboration of different research and development projects and programmes. This will require effort and planning on the part of project/programme staff to coordinate their activities where possible. Finally, there are a number of possible options for the management of a research programme which might attempt to address some of the knowledge gaps and research questions identified for the Mekong Basin. This will be addressed in the next section. 5. PROGRAMME DESIGN 5.1. Introduction The TOR for the Scoping Study specify that the overall objective is to design a research programme to establish the full social and economic value of the aquatic resources of the 7
  13. 13. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study Mekong River Basin. It was further specified that the programme should be fully coherent with other major research initiatives and inform and support regional and development objectives in the river basin, identifying key partners, research components and a management plan. It can be reported here that all of these objectives and requirements have been achieved. However, it should also be noted that the Scoping Study has extended and modified the research programme design beyond the original draft log-frame which appears in the TOR. DFID were alerted to the possibility that this might happen as the work of the Scoping Study progressed. The major modification to the programme design is the inclusion of an important component which aims to facilitate change in the nature of policy-making processes in the region over time, through a greater level of participation by all stakeholders. In fundamental terms, the Scoping Study team believe that the generation of new social and economic information will only go part-way to improve policies for river basin management. In order to achieve a greater impact, the nature of the policy-making process itself and the interface with new information provided by all stakeholders should also be changed (or improved). The new programme has been designed on the basis of two assumptions: • The programme will run for 4 years in the first instance; • The total budget will be £500K; 5.2. Programme Goal The Goal which provides the focus for the new programme is ‘the implementation of policies which contribute to regional sustainable development and equitable river basin management’ (LogFrame, Table 1). In order to achieve this goal, policy-makers will have to design appropriate policies. This will depend upon a number of key elements. First, there is a need to review different policy objectives (e.g. resource conservation vs. economic returns vs. poverty alleviation) and consider the likely trade-offs between them. In addition, alternative river basin management strategies and their likely outcomes will have to be compared. Second, the policy-makers will have to take account of the different resource users, interest groups and beneficiaries with alternative river basin management plans. Third, policy-makers will have to engage with these different stakeholders through a consultative process which allows their participation in policy decision-making. 5.3. Programme Purpose The programme purpose has two components: (i) to provide an improved understanding of the full social and economic value of the aquatic resources in the Mekong Basin and the contribution which they make to sustainable development; and (ii) to initiate a process by which the policy-making process itself becomes more effective in using this information through appropriate capacity-building and stakeholder participation. 8
  14. 14. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study In other words, the implementation of appropriate river basin management policies which meet development goals, will depend on the policy-makers having social and economic information available to design and chose between policy alternatives. However, the whole process of policy-making (using information, and identifying and evaluating alternatives) in the countries of the Mekong Basin must be improved through two actions. First, there must be institutional capacity-building (e.g. training government officers in policy analysis). Second, the participation of all stakeholders in the policy-making process must be encouraged. This will require the facilitation of constituency formation and the definition of constituency roles within the policy-making process at different levels. Two main roles will be the generation and flow of information to policy-makers, and the creation of the means by which stakeholder constituencies can be informed of policy-making actions and consulted over important decisions. 5.4. Activities and Outputs The Activities of the Programme and the resultant Outputs fall into three broad categories. The first two sets of Activities/Outputs can be considered as ‘conventional research’. They will both generate new knowledge, which can be passed to policy-makers for use in the policy-making process. The third category of activity, however, is less conventional and might be described as ‘action-research’. The activity aims to facilitate change (improvement) in the mechanism of the policy-making process itself. The first Activity focuses on the assessing the social and economic value of the resources of the Mekong River. This consists of a series of inter-related and sequential components: (i) a desk-study of current knowledge and research activity; (ii) the establishment of research collaboration with other projects/programmes; (iii) the identification of knowledge gaps and methodological development; and (iv) a series of studies leading to the assessment of social and economic values. The second Activity focuses on the assessment of resource management policy options and their impact on sustainable development. There are three components: (i) investigation of resource management institutions and strategies, and their impact on sustainable development; (ii) study of factors of change likely to affect future management and outcomes, including economic growth, population increases and resource degradation; and (iii) future resource management options will be identified and their impact on sustainable development will be analysed under various scenarios (relating this to expected changes in the future). The third Activity will focus on the policy-making processes itself. There will be three main components: (i) an investigation of the roles and relationships between different stakeholders within the Mekong Basin; (ii) followed by a study of the policy-making processes in operation at all levels (local, national, regional), including an assessment of institutional capacity; and (iii) finally, methods for improved policy-making will be identified and tested, including capacity-building, increased information exchange and greater participation by all stakeholder groups. This will also include the identification 9
  15. 15. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study and testing of methods for constituency formation and representation with the policy- making process. 5.5. Assumptions and constraints There are a wide range of assumptions and constraints which underlie the design of the programme. (a) Research capacity: there is very limited research capacity in certain countries, particularly Lao PDR and Cambodia. This is an important constraint which means that detailed and careful planning of research implementation will be required. It is also assumed that capacity-building in the social sciences will be included in the current research project. (b) Related research: it has been assumed that certain aspects of the social and economic studies can build upon the results of already completed or on-going research (e.g. bio- physical research into the operation of the Mekong River Basin); (c) Scale: the Mekong Basin is complex and enormous. It has been assumed that it will be possible to develop methodologies in specific ‘trial’ locations, and that initially, at least, these methodologies can be transferred and used in other parts also; (d) Collaboration: it is assumed that it will be possible to build collaboration with other scientists and their programmes throughout the Mekong and at all levels – in fact, given the enormity of the research challenge, it is essential that this takes place (collaboration is also discussed below) (e) Government participation and facilitation: it has been assumed that it will be possible to secure government participation in the research, and that there will be a willingness at all levels to facilitate the work on policy-process improvement; (f) Political constraints: it has been assumed that political constraints to working on policy at all levels in all the countries can be overcome, and that all stakeholders will appreciate the potential development benefits which might be realised from improved policy-making. 5.6. Implementation strategy, schedule and milestones It is proposed that the initial 4-year research programme should work in Cambodia, as a major case-study. At the same time, links and collaboration will be established and actively maintained with all the other countries of the Mekong Basin through regular meetings and establishment of an information network to disseminate news, outcomes and results. There are three reasons behind thjs proposal: (a) Cambodia has the highest level of dependence on the aquatic resources of the Mekong; (b) Cambodia is strategically located at the centre of the Mekong Basin, and is the location of a number of major research programmes, particularly those operated through the Mekong River Commission (based in the capital Phnom Penh); collaboration with these programmes and others will be important; 10
  16. 16. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study (c) There is already a well-established base of knowledge on the fisheries and other aquatic resources of the Mekong in Cambodia, largely as a result of collaborative programmes between the Government of Cambodia (Fisheries Dept) and various international agencies (see below). There are also a number of disadvantages in making this choice (and possible remedies), including: (a) A single-country focus (Cambodia) may bias the analysis of basin-wide policy considerations (the research programme will have to ensure a good network of information flow and contact with the other countries); (b) Approaches and methodologies for social, economic and policy analysis developed in Cambodia may not be transferable to other countries (early testing of approaches and methodologies should also take place in the other countries). The proposed implementation schedule of the programme Activities is shown in Table 2 along with key milestones (Research Reports). As explained earlier, two of the three Activities (Social & economic assessment; Resource management options) can be classed as ‘conventional’ research. They require the establishment and development of social and economic assessment methodologies appropriate to the situation in the Mekong Basin. In turn, the expected Outputs will consist of databases and reports containing the relevant social and economic information, and accompanying analysis, which has been generated. It is expected that the research programme can increase knowledge in this area over the course of 4 years. The third Activity (Analysis and improvement of policy-making) is less ‘conventional’, as indicated earlier. It will have a basis in policy-analysis research, but will also be complemented by an ‘Action Research’ component. This will involve capacity-building activities, the creation of stakeholder networks for information exchange and the initiation of constituency-building. The central idea will be to facilitate the means by which stakeholders at all levels can interact and contribute to the policy-making process. At a low level, this may involve primary stakeholders being more involved in the collection and distribution of information to policy-makers, or at a higher level, it may lead to the organisation of stakeholder constituencies and advocacy by these groups. It is expected that the policy-analysis component of the work can be completed in 4-years and might be achievable through establishing some form of “mentoring” programme. The outcome of this ‘Action Research’ element is far less predictable, and should be viewed as an activity that is likely to lead to certain benefits for improved policy-making in the long-term. 5.7. Research implementation, collaboration and programme management There are a number of options for the implementation and management of the research programme on social and economic valuation. Three important questions need to be answered: 11
  17. 17. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study (a) Who should implement the research? (b) Who should manage the research? (c) How should the implementation and management be organised? In order to begin answering these questions and to identify and evaluate the possible options, an important starting point was to produce a profile of the existing research and development programmes working on aquatic resource management in the Lower Mekong Basin. This was also used as a basis for assessing their potential collaboration in the new research programme (Appendix V). Profiles of 15 well-established projects/programmes and their institutions were examined, and then evaluated with respect to the following 4 domains (and a set of criteria): (a) Focus: (Is collaboration with social/economic research possible and appropriate?) (b) Implementation: (Is there an ability to implement social/economic research?) (c) Management: (Is there an ability to manage a research programme in social/economic research?) (d) Policy impact: (Is there an ability to use new research output in policy-making process? The results of this profiling and assessment exercise revealed that all the 15 projects/programmes and their host institutions had some capabilities to offer in different domains. For example, some would be suitable for research management as opposed to research implementation. However, two of the projects/programmes seemed to offer a complete range of capabilities. These were the Mekong River Commission (Environmental Programme) and the ICLARM Programme (of particular relevance in this context is the ICLARM/SIDA collaborative programme entitled The Legal and Institutional Framework, and Economic Valuation of Resources and Environment in the Mekong River Region: A Wetlands Approach). Each could demonstrate positive characteristics and capabilities in their profiles under all domains. Both the MRC and ICLARM profiles were distinguished by their capabilities to implement social and economic research, and most significantly, to use research to impact on policy in the Lower Mekong Basin. At the same time, however, almost all the projects/programmes/institutions profiled were lacking significant staff capacity with expertise in the social sciences. As a result of considering the above profiling and analysis, and also taking into account the overall findings of the Scoping Study, three options for the management of a new research programme on social and economic valuation in the Lower Mekong Basin have emerged: Option 1: Management by UK-based institution Programme managed by UK-based institution (e.g. university-based research centre) with expertise in social sciences and experience of research project management and 12
  18. 18. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study implementation in developing countries. Using both UK-based and local collaborators to implement research. Option 2: Management by international organisation with regional base in SE Asia: Programme managed by international organisation with a regional office in SE Asia (e.g. DFID SEA or UN FAO or NACA, Bangkok) with strong background in project management and facilitation in the region, but without in-house expertise in social sciences and policy option analysis. Organisation would commission international and local experts in social sciences to undertake research. Option 3: Management hosted by regional organisation with international expert assistance: Programme managed by regional organisation (e.g. Mekong River Commission) with assistance from appropriate international technical expertise. The nature and level of this input would be subject to further discussion and agreement with MRC staff. However, this could comprise TCO personnel or appropriately qualified expertise identified through the Associate Professional Officer scheme. The technical assistance would be appointed to a specific post within the MRC and help facilitate strong collaboration with the work of the host organisation. The technical assistance would be based in the Environment Programme and maintain active links both to the Fisheries Programme and to the ICLARM project mentioned above. Additional local and international collaboration (possibly through additional TA / APO support) will need to be established until additional local capacity in social sciences can be built-up. In making a choice between the three options, it is helpful and appropriate to use the criteria outlined in Appendix (V) Table 1. Overall, it is considered that Option 3 offers the best opportunity of success. An organisation such as the Mekong River Commission (Environment Programme) has a highly relevant focus (multi-disciplinary environmental management), there is experience of social science research implementation and management with the MRC. Crucially, the MRC has direct and important links to regional and national policy-making processes. There is in fact no doubt that it is explicitly part of the policy-making process for aquatic resource management in the Lower Mekong Basin. The MRC HQ is sited in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and therefore has significant locational advantages for operating an initial Phase of this new programme, based on the earlier suggestion that Cambodia should be used as an initial country case-study. Given this somewhat more limited geographical context than envisaged, effort should be made by the new research programme (through MRC and ICLARM) to disseminate programme approach and activities, and facilitate collaboration from other agencies and donors in supporting the overall scope of the research programme. In this regard, ad hoc support could be provided by other international agencies such as SIFAR/FAO. It should be noted that although MRC has been highlighted as the preferred location of the proposed new research programme, the Scoping Study Team has been impressed by 13
  19. 19. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study the activities of many of the other organisations. An important task, therefore, of the start-up and implementation of the new programme will be the establishment of appropriate collaboration with the full-range of relevant organisations and experts, particularly with ICLARM, but also with IUCN and others who have dedicated work in the social sciences. There are clearly huge benefits from sharing information and tackling the major research challenges in collaboration with one another. DFID should ensure early negotiation with both MRC and ICLARM and seek agreement regarding this Option 3. 6. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS The results of this Scoping Study have confirmed: (a) the great significance of aquatic resources for the development of the countries of the Lower Mekong Basin; (b) the need for the development of appropriate resource management policies which capitalise on this development potential; (c) the requirement of social and economic information and understanding to inform the policy-making process on development in the region; (d) the requirement also of improved policy analysis and policy reform (through capacity building and stakeholder participation) to optimise the usage of social/economic information; (e) the need for a new research programme in social and economic valuation in the Lower Mekong Basin; The key recommendations which have emerged from the Scoping Study are: (a) The new research programme should address the Goal of how to achieve the implementation of policies which contribute to regional sustainable development and equitable river basin management; (b) The new research programme should include the generation of information on social/economic values to assist better understanding, but also initiate a process of policy-making improvements to ensure that all stakeholders participate in decision- making related to resource usage and management; (c) The new research programme should operate initially in Cambodia, hosted by the MRC and with international technical assistance in management and implementation; (d) The new research programme should build collaborative relationships with all relevant stakeholders and other research programmes to facilitate its activities and maximise its impact. 14
  20. 20. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study Table 1. PROJECT FRAMEWORK: Social and Economic Valuation of the Aquatic Resources of the Lower Mekong Narrative summary Objectively Verifiable Indicators (OVIs Mean of Verification (MoV) Goal: Implementation of River basin management recognises alternative strategies, outcomes and Government policy policies which contribute to trade-offs between policy objectives. documents & official regional sustainable development statistics; and equitable river basin River basin management takes account of the different resource users, management. interest groups and beneficiaries. Reports from NGOs and other independent A process by which all stakeholders engage in policy-making and organsations management decision making is established. Purpose: (i) Improved Key policy-makers and regional planners have access to valuation Government reports & understanding of the full social information. Official statistics; and economic value of aquatic resources in the Mekong Basin; Institutions responsible for policy-making and planning have capacity to Government reports; (ii) to initiate a process to use valuation information. improve policy-making through capacity-building and Evidence of information influencing management decision-making Government reports; stakeholder participation: Participation of all stakeholder groups in the policy-making process, Government Reports; including consultation and decision-making, is encouraged and Reports from NGOs facilitated. Outputs: 1. A social & economic 1.1. Current knowledge & research activity on Mekong established; Research Report No.1; assessment of the aquatic 1.2. Research collaboration established with other projects/programmes; RR No.1 resources and ecosystems of the 1.3. Knowledge gaps & study methodologies defined; RR No.2 Mekong completed. 1.4. Social/economic value of Mekong established. RR No.6 2. Assessment of resource management policy options and 2.1. Current institutional & management systems, and their impacts RR No.3 their impact on regional defined and understood; sustainable development 2.2. Factors of change likely to affect future resource management and RR No.5 completed. its impact identified, analysed and understood; 15
  21. 21. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study 2.3. Future resource management options identified and their impact on RR No.7 3. Analysis of policy-making sustainable development analysed under various scenarios; process completed and strategy for improvement successfully 3.1. Relationships between stakeholders defined and understood; RR No.4 initiated. 3.2. Characteristics of policy-making processes and associated RR. No.8 institutional capacity understood; strategy for policy-making improvement identified; 3.3. Strategy for policy-making improvement through capacity-building, RR No.9 information exchange and participation successfully initiated. Activities 1. Social and economic 1.1. Desk study of existing knowledge & research activity on Mekong Project Management assessment of the Mekong System (multi-disciplinary perspective); Reports (Quarterly & undertaken 1.2. Identification and establishment of collaborative arrangements with Annual) other projects/programmes; 1.3. Identification of knowledge gaps & methodology for social/economic studies defined; 1.4. Social/economic assessment studies undertaken (including livelihood analysis); local research capacity-building undertaken. 2. Assessment of resource 2.1. Investigation of existing institutional arrangements and resource management policy options and management strategies and the impact on sustainable development. their impact on sustainable 2.2. Study of factors of change likely to affect future resource development undertaken. management and outcomes; 2.3. Analysis of future resource management options and scenario 3. Policy-making process analysis of impact on sustainable development; analysed and then strategy for improvement initiated. 3.1. Investigation of stakeholders (roles and relationships within region); 3.2. Analysis of policy-making processes (local, national, region levels), investigation of institutional capacity, and a strategy for improvement of policy-making identified; 3.3. Initiation of policy-making improvement strategy through capacity- building, information exchange and stakeholder participation. 16
  22. 22. Mekong River Basin Scoping Study TABLE: 2 INDICATIVE SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES Y 1 2 3 4 Half-year 1I 1ii 2i 2ii 3i 3ii 4i 4ii Activity 1. Social & economic assessment of aquatic resources in Mekong; 1.1 Desk study of existing RR1 knowledge; 1.2. Establishment of research RR1 collaboration; 1.3. Methodology development; RR2 1.4. Social & economic assessment RR6 studies; 2. Assessment of resource management; 2.1. Investigation of institutional RR3 arrangements & resource management strategies; 2.2. Study of change impacts; RR5 2.3. Study of future management RR7 options & scenario analysis; 3. Policy-making processes 3.1. Stakeholder analysis; RR4 3.2. Analysis of policy-making RR8 processes & development of future strategy; 3.3. Initiation of policy-making RR9 improvement strategy; 17
  23. 23. Appendix (I) (A) TERMS OF REFERENCE (B) RESPONSE TO TERMS OF REFERENCE 18
  24. 24. Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference (A) TERMS OF REFERENCE: MEKONG SCOPING STUDY Background: Throughout the world millions of the poorest and most vulnerable live in river basin, dependent on the river to support their livelihoods. Despite some recent studies on the Mekong, the relationship between the communities living in the basin and the river remains obscure. We do not fully understand the complexity of the relationships which bind fishing and farming communities to the seasonal cycles of flooding which characterise tropical river systems. Throughout the world the demand for water is becoming greater, much of the world is moving towards a position of water scarcity and the pressure to use rivers for power generation and for irrigation is increasing. Despite the failure of many very large dams to deliver promised benefits, the era of the mega-dam seems to be far from over and plans are afoot to dam several of the worlds largest rivers. Including the Euphrates, the Mekong, and the three gorges project in China to dam the Yangkse. Underlining these plans is a failure to understand the economic value of the river as it naturally flows, and the ecological and livelihoods benefits which derive from the river and its floodplain. These benefits are often diffuse, hard to quantify and often accrue to groups geographically and socially isolated without political voice. Nevertheless the few studies which have been done, demonstrate that the value of allowing rivers to flow naturally, greatly outweighs the benefits from abstracting water for either irrigation or power generation, and this information has been hugely influential in the development of more complex and diverse policies for the management of large river basins. The need to understand the relationships between the river and the people who depend on its aquatic resources, and to establish the value of naturally flooding rivers has been highlighted by a number of studies, and has driven forward this study. A number of other development agencies and research groups are currently engaged in studies into the aquatic resources of the Mekong, including ICLARM, the Mekong River Commission, the River Basins Initiative. Following a proposal from DFIDs research section, the managers of the RNR fisheries research programmes, developed an initial proposal to identify the livelihood strategies of groups dependent of aquatic resources. This was amended with comments from the DFID NR advisers in Asia and a tentative LogFrame agreed (attached below). The overall aim of the research is to generate knowledge which will contribute toward a better understanding of the full value of the aquatic resources and inform and direct both policy and decision-making in the river basin. The initial phase of this work will therefore be to design a research programme which supports other research programmes and generates new knowledge and understanding. Overall Objectives: The overall objective of the Scoping Study is to design a research programme to establish the full social and economic value of the aquatic resources of the Mekong river. The programme will fully coherent with other major research initiatives 19
  25. 25. Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference and will inform and support regional and international development objectives in the river basin, identifying key partners, research components and a management plan. Scope of the Work: The consultant will develop a programme in collaboration with ICLARM and other research and development partners. Specially the consultants will: 1. Review the research on the valuation of the aquatic resources of river basins and in particular work completed or underway on the Mekong river. 2. Identify and contact major international, regional and national organisations conducting research on the aquatic resources of the Mekong river basin. Identify the key objectives of the research, current and planned activity and institutional priorities. 3. Review the institutional and organisational basis of current aquatic resource management decision making in the river basin, determining regional and national agencies, management objectives and development priorities. 4. Identify key partners for the research programme and the interface for knowledge uptake and application within policy development and management decision-making 5. Design a research programme consistent with the draft LogFrame and coherent with research currently underway in the river basin. The programme should outline programme components, tentative knowledge outputs and major research partners. The proposal should clearly identify the pathways and context by which knowledge generated will be applied to deliver development outcomes. Opportunities for the co- funding of research should be explored. 6. Develop draft management arrangements for the project including the identification of key national and regional partners and propose a management structure. Outputs: The scoping study will develop a detailed research proposal and a management plan for a Mekong river basin study, fully consistent with the plans of other regional and international research and development agencies. The plan will presented to DFID for consideration within 14 days of the completion of the consultancy. Conduct of the Work: The consultant will be managed by SIFAR on behalf of DFID NR research section. A committee comprising three Fisheries PMs and DFID fisheries advisers will review and comment of the report. 40 days of consultancy time have been allocated to this work, with provision for extended travel to South Asia. A draft proposal will be submitted to the committee for review after 30 days. Competencies: The consultant will have a background in natural resources research management and will have experience of aquatic resource management in tropical river basins. Detailed knowledge of the SL approach and of environmental economics essential. Timing and Duration: The consultancy will start by the end of September 2001. 40 days consultancy time have been allocated for this purpose. 20
  26. 26. Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference Project Framework Narrative Summary OVIs MoV Assumptions Goal: Policies for equitable Options for management river basin management recognise a broad range developed of resource users. Policies establish the rights of all resource dependent communities to engage in management decision making Purpose: Improved EoPS: understanding of the full social and economic Key policy makers and value of aquatic regional planners have resources in the Mekong access to valuation basin: information. Evidence of information influencing management decision-making Outputs: 1: An economic assessment 1.1 Regional partnerships of the aquatic resources and inform research ecosystems of the Mekong 1.2 Desk studies completed. incorporating existing knowledge completed 1.3 Analysis of existing management policy. 1.4 2 Assessment of the 2.1 Constituency of contribution made resource dependent aquatic resources and groups established ecosystems in supporting 2.2 Case studies of the livelihoods the people livelihoods in river living in river basins. dependent communities 2.3 Analysis of trade-offs in management options 2.4 3: Knowledge effectively 3.1 Network of resource disseminated to key managers and policy stakeholders within river makers established. basins. 3.2 Systems for engaging 21
  27. 27. Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference Narrative Summary OVIs MoV Assumptions regional management bodies Activities: Inputs: 1 £000s 2 3 4 5 Total 22
  28. 28. Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference (B) SIFAR/CEMARE RESPONSE TO TERMS OF REFERENCE Introduction The overall objective of the Scoping Study is to design a research programme aimed at developing a better understanding of the social and economic value of the aquatic resources of the Mekong river. Such a programme is seen as crucial in terms of generating information of direct relevance to river basin development. The information derived will be used both in awareness building, and in informing and influencing complex policy processes relevant to the sustainable management of this and other large river basins. It is foreseen that the programme will generate significant evidence on the important role played by the highly diverse traditional capture fisheries of the Mekong basin in maintaining local livelihood benefits. It is likely also to pinpoint threats to these livelihoods from gross environmental changes that could result from large-scale water management activities. As articulated in the Draft ToRs and logframe provided, the programme will be consistent with other research and will inform and support regional and international development objectives in the river basin, identifying key partners, research components and a plan for programme management. The Study will be implemented by the Centre for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources (CEMARE) under the overall supervision of FAO's Support unit for International Fisheries and Aquatic Research (SIFAR). Additional resource persons will be deployed to complement available skills. How the study will be conducted - key needs With reference to the general objective, ToRs and logframe, the study needs to: • Articulate in a precise way the key research questions which need investigation, highlighting how these are relevant in policy. For example, the TOR state “… establish the full social and economic value of the aquatic resources of the Mekong river”. This general statement will need to be fully developed. • Identify and undertake a preliminary characterisation of the policy frameworks, including the policy-making process and policy implementation (regional, national, international), which will affect the Mekong river. The utility of the social/economic information generated by research will be determined by the nature of the policy environment, and it is important to include this aspect within the research programme in some way, possibly as a research area. Or, in other words, the generation of the information (cf. ‘the need to understand the relationship between the river and the people who depend on its aquatic resources, and to establish the value of naturally flooding rivers [re: OVI: key policy makers and regional planners have access to valuation information] is not a sufficient condition to achieve the project goal, a detailed analysis of how this information may be used by the policy-makers is also considered necessary. 23
  29. 29. Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference • Identify who are the principal stakeholders likely to be affected by policy decisions. This is important because we cannot discuss ‘economic value’ without addressing the question: ‘value for whom?’. There are also important questions relating to poverty and equity to be addressed. • See what knowledge is available to answer these questions, where the knowledge gaps are, and how easily the gaps could be filled. For example, would it really be feasible to conduct a contingent valuation methodology (CVM) survey, or would a benefit transfer approach be the only feasible option? How would these approaches relate to sustainable livelihood analysis? • Establish what skills and specialist expertise would be required both to do the research (for example, what specialist disciplines / multidisciplinary expertise will it require ?); and to manage research programme implementation. How the study will be conducted - team structure The overall general objective and scope of the work corresponds well with CEMARE’s area of expertise and current activity i.e. the economic and social analysis of fisheries and aquatic resource systems. In particular, CEMARE can offer appropriate skills and experience of research into riverine and coastal areas in less developed countries. CEMARE will offer a strong team comprising five of their key senior staff, with appropriate and complementary skills, to undertake the scoping study as follows: Dr. Arthur Neiland (policy analysis and economics) Dr. David Whitmarsh (environmental economics) Dr. Premachandra Wattage (environmental economics) Dr. Christophe Bene (policy analysis and socio-economics) Mr. Roger Lewins (rural socio-economics). This team will be complemented with David Coates, a Mekong fisheries specialist who has been working long-term in the Assessment of Fisheries Project, MRC, Vientiane (Danida funded). Other resource persons will be identified in due course. What we will deliver and when Implementation would begin in late October when a representative of SIFAR and/or CEMARE would travel to the region to participate in the MRAG/FMSP workshop, establish links with potential partner organisations interested in collaborating (Annex 1). The CEMARE team would undertake the main scoping activities from the beginning of December 2001 (earlier than this is not possible owing to previous commitments). The work could be roughly divided into three phases: Phase 1: Preparation, collation of materials, briefing with SIFAR, DFID and others, liaison with staff in SE Asia (UK, 15 man.days; also facilitated and supplemented by proposed October visit); 24
  30. 30. Appendix (I) - Terms of Reference Phase 2: Visit to key organisations in SE Asia, field visits in Mekong study, workshop with relevant stakeholders (Annex 2), consultation with key experts, preliminary research programme design (SE Asia, 50 man.days); Phase 3: Collation, analysis, review, write-up of findings, refinement of research programme design based on wide consultation with partners, presentation to SIFAR / DFID (UK, 30 man.days). Output The information collected during the study (above) will be collated, analysed and reviewed in order to design and propose an appropriate and achievable research programme. This will focus on the economic and social aspects of the Mekong river system as defined by the logframe (it is noted that some modifications to the logframe may be proposed as part of the programme design process, and assumed this is acceptable). The programme will identify programme management needs to ensure effective implementation. Conduct of the Work The consultant will be managed by SIFAR on behalf of DFID NR research section. A "virtual" steering committee will be established comprising the three Fisheries Programme Managers; DFID Advisers (London and SE Asia); SIFAR and the CEMARE Coordinator. This group will review and comment both on this response document and on the final report. It will also convene as and when required at the request of any member. 25
  31. 31. Appendix (II) LIST OF KEY INTERVIEWEES 26
  32. 32. Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees CAMBODIA !"Mr. Sarthi ACHARYA, Research Director, Cambodia Development Research Institute (CDRI), Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Michael BIRD, Programme Representative, Oxfam GB, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Ms. Kelly BROOKS, Oxfam Mekong Initiative, Oxfam America, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Tep BUNNARITH, Acting Executive Director, Culture and Environment Preservation Association (NGO), Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Sim BUNTHOEUN Programme Database Officer, Oxfam America, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Lai BUTHA Extension Adviser, SCALE (NGO), nr. Phnom Penh, Cambodia !"Dr. Chris BARLOW, Senior Programme Officer, Fisheries Unit, MRC Secretariat, PO Box 1112, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, (855 23) 720 979. E-mail: Barlow@mrcmekong.org !"Mr. Heng DA, Extension Trainer, SCALE (NGO), nr. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Ben DAVIES, Livelihoods Adviser, DFID, British Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Dr. Peter DEGEN, Socio-economic Adviser, Project for the Management of the Freshwater Capture Fisheries of Cambodia, MRC, Department of Fisheries, 186 Norodom Blvd PO Box 582, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tel: +(855 23) 723 275, Fax: +(855 23) 427048. E-mail: MRCFISH@bigpond.com.kh or ifric@bigpond.com !"Mr. Marc GOICHOT, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Dr. Hans GUTTMAN, Environment Programme Coordinator, Environment Division, MRC, PO Box 1112, 364 M.V. Preah Monivong, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tel: +(855 23) 720 979, Fax: +(855-23) 720 972. E-mail: guttman@mrcmekong.org !"Dr. Jeanineke Dahl KRISTENSEN Programme Manager, Fisheries Programme, MRC, PO Box 112, 364, Preah Monivong, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tel: +(855 23) 720 979, Fax: +(855 23) 720 972. E-mail: jeanineke.dk@mrcmekong.org !"Mr. Bruce MCKENNEY, Programme Manager, Natural Resources and the Environment, Cambodia Development Research Institute (CDRI), Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 27
  33. 33. Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees !"Mr. Ka MING, Technical Adviser, SCALE (NGO), nr. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Tuok NAO, Director, Department of Fisheries, 186 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. E-mail: catfish@bigpond.com.kh !"Mr. Ngin NAVIRAK, Programme Officer, Cambodia Livelihoods Study Project, Oxfam UK, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Sam NUOV, Deputy Director, Department of Fisheries, 186 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. E-mail: catfish@bigpond.com.kh !"Ms. Poeu OUCH, Regional Coordinator of Women in Fisheries Network, MRC Assessment of Mekong Fisheries Component, Department of Fisheries, 186 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. E-mail: catfish@bigpond.com.kh !"Mr. Pen ROTHA, Extension Trainer, SCALE (NGO), nr. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Sak SAMBATH, Programme Assistant, DFID, British Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Tuy SAMRAM, Agriculture Senior Project Officer, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Mak SITHIRITH Environmental Network Coordinator, NGO Forum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia !"Mr. Bruce TODD, Oxfam Mekong Initiative, Oxfam America, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Seang Tana TOUCH Economic/Social Adviser to Cabinet Council of Ministers, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. !"Mr. Ly VUTHY, Office of Community Fisheries Development, Department of Fisheries, 186 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, ifric@bigpond.com.kh !"Dr. Nicolaas VAN ZALINGE, CTA, Management of Freshwater Capture Fisheries of Cambodia, Department of Fisheries, 186 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. E-mail: ifric@bigpond.com.kh LAO PDR !"Dr. Ian BAIRD Global Association for People and the Environment, Vientiane, Lao PDR. 28
  34. 34. Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees !"Mr. Jim CHAMBERLAIN, Social Assessment and Policy Consultant, Vientiane, Lao PDR. !"Dr. Wolf HARTMANN, Chief Technical Adviser, Project for the Management of Reservoir Fisheries in the Mekong Basin (MRFP), MRC, PO Box 7035, Vientiane, Lao PDR, Tel: +(856 21) 216 268, Fax +(856 21) 223610. E-mail: merops@laotel.com or hartman_00@yahoo.com !"Mr. Nick INNES-TAYLOR, Institutional Adviser, Regional Development Co-ordination (RDC), AIT Outreach, Department of Livestock & Fisheries, PO Box 16, Savannakhet, Lao PDR. Tel: +(856 41) 214520, Fax: +(856 41) 212 549. E-mail: nick@udon.loxinfo.co.th !"Mr. Lionel LAURENS, Rural Development Adviser, UNDP, Vientiane, Lao PDR. !"Mr. Ole PEDERSEN, Coordinator, Natural Resources and Environment Programme, DANIDA, Vientiane, Lao PDR. !"Mr. Nouvong PHOSAVATH IUCN Office Manager, Vientiane, Lao PDR. !"Dr. Jens SJORSLEV Senior Socio-economist, MRC, PO Box 7035, Vientiane, Lao PDR. !"Mr. Glen SWANSON, Rural Development Adviser, UNDP, Vientiane, LAO PDR. !"Mr. Choulamany XAYPLADETH, Director, Living Aquatic Resources Research Centre (LARReC), PO Box 9108, Vientianne, LAO PDR. Tel: +(856 21) 215 015, fax: +(856 21) 214 855. E-mail: Larrec@laonet.net THAILAND !"Mr. Simon BLAND, Natural Resources Adviser, DFID SEA, British Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand !"Mr. Pedro BUENO, NACA, Suraswadi Building, Department of Fisheries, Kasetsart University Campus, Bangkok 10900, Thailand. !"Dr. Harvey DEMAINE, Associate Professor and Co-ordinator, Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources Management Programme, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, Thailand. 29
  35. 35. Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees !"Mr. Premrudee EANG, NGO Director, Project for Ecology Recovery (PER) & Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (TERRA), Bangkok, Thailand. !"Dr. Hans FRIEDERICH, Head, Regional Wetlands and Water Resources Programme, IUCN, Bangkok, Thailand. !"Dr. Richard FRIEND, Consultant Anthropologist/Policy Expert, Bangkok, Thailand Fax: +(66 34) 624756. E-mail: richardfriend@hotmail.com ; From Jan 02 working with IUCN Thailand. !"Mr. Simon FUNGE-SMITH, Regional Adviser for Aquaculture & Inland Fisheries, UN FAO, 39 Pra Athit Road, Bangkok, Thailand. Tel: (+66) 2697-4149, Fax: (+66) 2697-4445. E-mail: sjfsmith@loxinfo.co.th !"Dr. Graham HAYLOR, Director, STREAM, c/o NACA, Suraswadi Building, Department of Fisheries, Kasetsart University Campus, Bangkok 10900, Thailand. Tel: +(66 2) 561 1728, Fax: +(66 2) 561 1727. E-mail: ghaylor@loxinfo.co.th !"Dr. Phillip HIRSCH, Director, Australian Mekong Resource Centre, Division of Geography, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, NSW2006, Australia. Tel: +(61 2) 9351 7796, Fax: +(61 2) 9351 3644. E-mail: hirsch@mail.uysd.edu.au !"Dr. Kungwan JUNTARASHOTE, Department Chairman, Department of Fisheries, Faculty of Fisheries, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand. !"Dr. Supawat KOMOLMARL, Fisheries Biologist, Department of Fisheries, Bangkok, Thialand. !"Dr. Wattana LEELAPATRA, Fisheries Economics Division, Department of Fisheries, Bangkok, Thailand. !"Dr. Oophatum PAWAPUTANON Deputy Director General, Department of Fisheries, Bangkok, Thailand !"Dr. Mike PHILLIPS, NACA, Suraswadi Building, Department of Fisheries, Kasetsart University Campus, Bangkok 10900, Thailand. E-mail: naca@mozart.inet.co.th or mjphillips@inet.co.th !"Dr. S.L. RANAMUKHAARACHCHI Associate Professor, Agricultural and Aquatic Systems and Engineering Programme, AIT, Bangkok, Thailand. !"Mr. Alvaro RODRIGUEZ, Chief, Sub-Regional Resource Facility (SURF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bangkok, Thailand. 30
  36. 36. Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees !"Dr. Amararathne YAKUPITIYAGE, Associate Professor and Co-ordinator, Agricultural and Aquatic Systems and Engineering Programme, AIT, Bangkok, Thailand. VIETNAM !"Dr. Steen CHRISTENSEN Chief Technical Advisor, Assessment of Living Marine Resources in Vietnam, 10 Nguyen Cong Hoan – Ba Dinh – Hanoi, Vietnam. Tel: (84-4) 7715704, Fax: (84-4) 7715707. E-mail: steen@netnam.vn !"Mrs Fernanda GUERRIERI, Representative for Vietnam, FAO Vietnam, 3 Nguyen Gia Thieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Tel: (84-4) 942 4208. E-mail: FAO-VNM@fao.org !"Frits JEPSEN, Chief Technical Advisor Coordinator, DANIDA: Sector Programme Support, Ministry of Fisheries, 10 Nguyen Cong Hoan – Ba Dinh – Hanoi, Vietnam. Tel: (84-4) 7717001, Fax: (84-4) 7716522. E-mail: jepsen.stofa@fsps.com.vn !"Mrs. Anh Tran Thi QUYNH, International Marine Life Alliance – Vietnam, Suite 3.3B City Gate Building, 104 Tran Hung Dao Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Tel: (84-4) 9420 481, Fax: (84-4) 9420 480. E-mail: ttqanh@imarinelife.org.vn !"Dr. John SOLLOWS, Chief Technical Adviser, Management of Reservoir Fisheries (Vietnam), MRC, 68 Le Hong Phong, Ban Me Thout, Vietnam. Tel: +(84 50) 852 924, Fax: +(84 50) 952 927. E-mail: johns@netman2.org.vn or johns@hcmc.netman.vn !"Do Than LAM, Programme Coordinator, Oxfam GB, c/o La Thanh Hotel, 218 Doi Can Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Tel: (84-4) 8325491, Fax: (84-4) 8325247. E-mail: dtlam@oxfam.org.uk !"Dr. Le Thanh LUU, Vice Director, Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 1, Dinh Bang – Tu Son – Bac Ninh, Vietnam. Tel: (84-4) 827 1368, Fax: (84-4) 8273070 – 8785751. E- mail: ria1@hn.vnn.vn !"Dr. Nguyen Thanh PHUONG, Vice Director, Aquaculture and Fisheries Science Institute, College of Agriculture, Can Tho University, Campus 2, Can Tho City, Vietnam. Tel: (84-71) 830931; 830246, Fax: (84-71) 830247; 830323. E-mail: ntphoung@ctu.edu.vn !"Pham GIA TRUC, Programme Assistant, FAO Vietnam, 3 Nguyen Gia Thieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Tel: (84-4) 942 4208. E-mail: FAO-VNM@fao.org !"Mr. Nguyen VAN TRONG, Head of Division, Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 2, Division of Aquatic 31
  37. 37. Appendix (II) - Key-Interviewees Environment and Fisheries Resources, 116 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Dist., Ho Chi Minh Cty, Vietnam. Tel: (84-8) 8229616 & 8299592, Fax: (84-8) 8226807. E- mail: amfpvn@hcm.fpt.vn !"Dr. Ha Xuan THONG, Director, Institute of Fisheries Economics and Planning, 10 Nguyen Cong Hoan – Ba Dinh – Hanoi, Vietnam. Tel: (84-4) 7716054, Fax: (84-4) 8326054. E-mail: IFEP@netnam.vg.vn !"Dr. Nguyen Xuan LY, Director, Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Fisheries, 10 Nguyen Cong Hoan – Ba Dinh – Hanoi, Vietnam. Tel: (84-4) 8354516, Fax: (84- 4) 7716702 OTHERS !"Dr. Eric BARAN, Research Scientist, ICLARM, PO Box 500, GPO 10670, Penang, Malaysia. Tel: +(60-4) 626 1606, Fax: +(60-4) 626 5530. E-mail: e.baran@cgiar.com !"Dr. Magnus TORRELL, Research Scientist, Policy Research & Impact Assessment Programme, ICLARM, PO Box 500, GPO 10670, Penang, Malaysia. Tel: +(63 2) 750 0309 ext 105, Fax: +(63 2) 813 7893. E-mail: m.torrell@cgiar.org 32
  38. 38. Appendix (III) ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, LIVELIHOODS AND THE ROLE OF MEKONG IN THAILAND, CAMBODIA VIETNAM AND LAOS: AN OVERVIEW 33
  39. 39. Appendix (III) - Overview of Lower Mekong Basin Economic development, livelihoods and the role of Mekong in Thailand, Cambodia Vietnam and Laos: an overview. “mean toek, mean trey” (where there is water, there is fish) khmer proverb INTRODUCTION The objective of this appendix is to provide a general and brief description of the economic development and rural livelihoods context in the four countries of the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB), namely Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). For this purpose, the appendix is structured into two main subsections. First the general physical and socio-economic context of the Mekong Basin is given from a regional perspective. The second section treats separately the four countries with emphasis on their specificities with respect to the LMB. 1. THE MEKONG BASIN FROM A REGIONAL PERSPECTIVE 1.1. Geo-politics The Mekong (the world’s sixth largest river) is the longest river in Southeast Asia. It flows from Tibet plateau in South China through six countries: China, Burma, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and lastly down to the delta in Vietnam (Fig.1). Management of the Mekong basin therefore occurs within two incongruent sets of boundaries. The first set is political and results from the historical division of the region into countries, provinces and districts. The second set is bio- physical, defining the basin as a whole and the sub-basin units that comprise it. Taken in its entirely the Mekong basin spans a wide range of altitude, latitude, climate and vegetation zones along the 4200 kilometre length of the river. The Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) covers a somewhat narrower range of bio-geographical conditions. The four lower countries (Lao PDR, Thailand Cambodia and Vietnam) contain 77% of the basin area and account for more than four-fifths of the water that passes through the basin each year. Five of the countries included in the Mekong Basin have been through some form of socialist or socialist administration and three (China, Lao PDR and Vietnam) remain nominally socialists state in the process of economic reform. All countries have gone through periods of authoritarian rule. Both Lao PDR and Cambodia have institutional deficiencies linked to the aftermath of war and political transformation. While Vietnam 34
  40. 40. Appendix (III) - Overview of Lower Mekong Basin has gone through similar processes, it has managed to achieve much better health and education outcomes while Thailand has had a relatively stable political and social history in recent times. 1.2. Socio-economy The Mekong basin has a population of approximately 60 million of whom about 50 millions are in the LMB. The LMB is economically diverse. In part this is due to the historical difference and divisions within the region. Table 1 shows the main economic indicators for each country. The most notable economic feature is the difference in average levels of income between the wealthiest and poorest countries of the LMB 1. In this respect, Vietnam and Thailand show significantly better health profiles compared to those for the people of Lao PDR and Cambodia. Table 1. Key socio-economic and development indicators Cambodia Lao PDR Vietnam Thailand East-Asia & Pacific Population (millions) 12 5.2 78.5 60.2 1,853 b Poverty (% population below poverty line) 36 na 37 16 na GDI US$ per capita 260 280 370 1960 1,060 (rank a) (141) (139) (127) (67) GDP growth (%) 5.0 7.3 4.8 4.3 5.7 Life expectancy 53 54 68 68 69 Mortality rate infant 100 93 36 28 35 (per 1000 live birth) HDI (rank a) 131 121 101 66 Rural population (% total) 85 77 81 79 Paved road (%) 7.5 15 25 97 na Illiteracy (% of population +15) 60 51 7 5 14 Access to improved water supply (%) 30 90 56 89 75 Agriculture (% of GDP) 37 53 24 2.2 Total debt per capita 196 480 198 1337 (outstanding and disbursed) US$ a out of the 162 World’s countries. b poverty data for the year 1999 at $1.5 a day. Sources: World Development Database 2000, Hirsch and Cheong 1996, ICLARM 1999, Baird et al.1998. While the majority of the basin’s inhabitants are farmers and fishers most of whom maintain a strong subsistence orientation, the main areas of resource development envisaged for the basin lie in different sectors. In particular hydropower and forestry are seen as major earners of national income and foreign exchange. This potentially places industrial and export sectors at odds with the subsistence needs and livelihood security interests of the region’s poorest people. Agriculture (including fisheries) will however remain the prime economic activity in the Basin in the foreseeable future. Indeed, while there is much hyperbole about Vietnam being an emerging economic "tiger", its economy is still largely resource based. This is also the case in Cambodia and Lao PDR which are more slowly moving out of an era of 1 Note that Thailand and Vietnam differs by a factor of about 10 on this measure. However, this is tempered significantly by the regional disparities within each country. Given that Thailand’s north-eastern region is its poorest, and Vietnam’s Mekong delta is its most prosperous area, the difference in living standards between the two most populous regions of the LMB is much less than the national comparisons indicate. 35
  41. 41. Appendix (III) - Overview of Lower Mekong Basin economic "slumber". Even with the possible and dramatic advent of hydropower as a major GDP component in Lao PDR, the majority of the population will still be agriculturally based, as will Northeast Thailand which will continue to be a zone of agricultural production. As population pressures increase, farming land will become even scarcer, prompting challenges for governments and donor agencies. 1.3. Fisheries in the LMB This section is best started by mentioning that the LMB is considered to support one of the richest river faunas in the world, surpassed only by the Amazon and the Zaire Rivers. The river system itself is habitat to over 1000 species of fish and include many rare species such as the Mekong river dolphin and the giant catfish Pangasianodon gigas to name the more obvious ones. Fish is the primary source of animal protein in the Basin and comprises from 40 to 80% of the total animal protein intake. This has great significance for the Basin’s poorest inhabitants, and any disruption to this source would have significant nutritional consequences. In this respect, several reports emphasise that the potential impacts of future projects (such as hydropower schemes) are difficult to ascertain, due to the current limited information on fish biology and ecology. This lack of data on the aquatic resources sector also makes it difficult to credibly report on the overall state of exploitation of fish stocks. 2. COUNTRIES’ REVIEW 2.1. Thailand 2.1.1 Key socio-economic and development indicators Thailand East-Asia & Pacific Thailand can be described as the most powerful local economic force in the GDI per capita LMB with a major resource development interests within the boundaries of its Water supply GDP growth basin neighbours. Thailand’s GDP export earnings, level of industrialisation and standard of living surpasses those of its neighbours in the basin. Thailand’s Illiteracy rate Life expectancy demand for natural resource is an important part of the drive for regional Mortality rate development of the Basin. However against an upbeat background of impressive GDP growth there is increasing concern that this growth is not sustainable and is causing unacceptable ecological destruction. Increasing social inequalities also figure in the debate as the income gap between those in Bangkok and those in the other provinces (especially the Northeast) continues to increase. As a result of increasing environmental degradation and mounting public pressure, the Thai government since the 1980s has had to incorporate the environment into its policy agenda. 36
  42. 42. Appendix (III) - Overview of Lower Mekong Basin 2.1.2. Significance of LMB to Thailand The basin covers about 183000 km2 or more than a third of Thailand. This, and the fact that within the basin Thailand shares common boundaries with Lao PDR, Burma, and Cambodia, inscribes the basin’s importance to Thailand in its socio-economic, cultural and political life. About 37% of the population or 21 million people live in the basin region. About 90% of this population relies on agriculture showing low levels of industrialisation and service sector development compared to the rest of the country. In fact, the part of Thailand which fall within the basin contrasts quite strongly with the central region in a variety of ways. The basin provinces demonstrate far greater proportions of ethnic minorities among their populations. They are also relatively less developed, derive most of their earnings from agriculture and trading and the inhabitants have lower average income 2. 2.2. Lao PDR 2.2.1 Key socio-economic and Lao PDR East-Asia & Pacific development indicators With an estimated per capita income of GDI per capita US$320 (1998), the landlocked Lao PDR is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the East Asia Water supply GDP growth region. Lao PDR covers 236,800 km2 with a population of 4.9 million growing at 2.6 percent per annum. Illiteracy rate Life expectancy Social indicators in the Lao PDR are among the worst in the region, and Mortality rate closer to the average for Sub-Saharan Africa. Lao PDR is predominantly rural in character. In economic terms, the rural sector accounts for 53 % of GDP and 80 % of employment and continues to be important to the Lao PDR economy. There are major constraints, however, to rural development and diversification, including poor rural infrastructure, access to markets and the limited network of all-weather feeder roads. 2.2.2. Significance of LMB to Lao PDR More than 85 % of the land area of Lao PDR is in the Mekong basin (202000 km2). About 35% of all water in the Mekong river originates from watersheds within Lao PDR. These watersheds form 26% of the total watershed area of the Mekong basin. In the context of the LMB, the Lao PDR watersheds provide about 60% of all the water. Lao PDR has in fact the largest available renewable freshwater per capita ratio in Asia The LMB is central to Lao PDR in all facets of its national economy. The major LMB development plans in Lao PDR are hydropower projects which aim to sell electricity to 2 For illustration the annual gross provincial product GPP per capita in Bangkok was estimated at 160,169 Baht in 1995 while for the basin provinces, it was an average of 15,579 Baht or only 9% of the BKK GPP. 37

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