Mekong Utility Watch

Declaration of the Northeast Cambodia Fishery Forum

February 22, 2005

The recommendations tabled at a two-day forum attended by 180 representatives of riparian communities from different regions in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

Declaration of the Northeast Cambodia Fishery Forum Stung Treng, 22-23 February 2005

We, the 180 representatives of riparian communities from different regions (the Sesan, Sre Pok and Se Kong Rivers as well as from the Tonle Sap Lake, the coastal areas and Upper Mekong region) from Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand came together on the 22-23 February 2005 to attend the NE Cambodia Fishery Forum in Stung Treng. From the two-day forum, we collectively agree and acknowledge that the following problems exist:

The hydrological regime of the Mekong River and its tributaries has seriously changed in terms of both water quality and water levels during the past few years. In particular, the development of hydropower dams has negatively impacted the agricultural production, fisheries and the livelihoods of the people living along these rivers.

It has been noted that there has been a reduction in the quantity of fish and types of fish species in the Mekong Basin.

The construction of hydropower dams has resulted in serious changes, and poses a continued threat to the ecology, cultures and customs of people living along rivers in the Mekong Basin.

Fishery laws in Cambodia have not been effectively implemented to stop illegal fishing activities, which continue to occur through the use of illegal fishing gears.

There have been conflicts between communities and the illegal fishers in Cambodia.

Illegal fishing and the destruction of flooded forest areas have been continuing in Cambodia.

The Mekong Basin is becoming increasingly poisoned and polluted. รบ Rapid blasting for navigation routes in the upper Mekong Basin has seriously impacted the fishing and fish populations and water quality, and has caused riverbank erosion, and has negatively impacted riverside gardening along the Mekong River and its tributaries.

Recommendations and Requests: We, therefore, would like to propose the following recommendations and requests for consideration by the Mekong region governments and international donor agencies concerned with development issues within the Mekong Basin:

We request that the governments and relevant stakeholders should attentively consider our problems and help to produce solutions.

We support policies and equitable cooperation among the Mekong countries through the promotion of people’s participation in all the countries in the Mekong Basin.

We do not need solutions that are not equitable and/or lack the participation and consultation of local communities whose socio-economic, environmental and cultural rights have been affected by development projects.

We request that governments promote and support local networks and help increase solidarity with civil societies in the Mekong Basin.

We request that the governments recognize the right of local communities to use and protect fish and other natural resources in a sustainable manner.

We request to the governments and relevant stakeholders that they recognize the value of cultures, customs, identities and the ways of life of indigenous peoples.

Natural resources in the Mekong Basin are part of the ecological systems of the region and belong to all peoples in the Mekong Basin; therefore no state or country along the river should have the sole authority to make decisions regarding development that may affect the ecosystem beyond its borders.

The governments should promote the participation of people in the planning, policy development and decision-making processes of the region.

The governments should establish a regional information and communications system, ensuring that the information is easily accessible for people living in the Mekong Basin.

The international development agencies and relevant governments should be held accountable for past destructive development activities, ensuring that timely and equitable compensation is provided to all project affected peoples.

Categories: Mekong Utility Watch

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