Work, eat and play. Tens of millions of people tie their everyday lives to the Mekong.

And for a majority of them, the river is their market place. Fisheries put a lot of food on tables, serving up 2.5 million tonnes of protein every year.

Of the 60 million people living in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB), about 40% live within a 15-km corridor along the Mekong River, most within 5 km of the mainstream. Without a doubt, the river acts as the region's highway and provides access to trade, food security and livelihoods.

Riverine communities are experiencing a period of rapid change, as the Lower Mekong Basin makes a competitive presence on regional and global markets. However, millions still live without basic amenities such as clean drinking water and electricity.

Understanding the potential of natural resources, Mekong countries pursue their development ambitions to boost their economies and improve the livelihoods of their people. Intensified irrigation for agriculture, proposed hydropower development and cross-border waterway trade are among those on the horizon that may impact the Mekong's people.

The Mekong River Commission works with the region's governments and stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of these goals. The organisation provides expertise on basin-wide strategic planning, research-based technical advice to state agencies, and works with political leaders and policy makers. The MRC supports the Mekong countries by turning policies into practice.

Through the MRC's work, governments can ultimately make progress towards poverty eradication and boost their economies in a way that involves not just one particular nation or group, but the basin and its people as a whole.


Role of The MRC

In complement to the Environment Programme and Basin Development Plan Programme, the MRC studies the use of aquatic ecosystems by populations in the region. This work is designed to determine how people benefit from aquatic ecosystems and how they are affected by changes in them.

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