TAILIEUCHUNG - Population Growth and Natural-Resources Pressures in the Mekong River Basin

An analysis of the complex relationship between demographic changes and impacts on the natural-resource base confirms that resource exploitation is occurring not only to meet growing domestic needs but also for other vested interests. Population, together with other major drivers, such as institutions, markets, and technology, will have a very strong bearing on the way in which the rich resources of the Mekong River Basin are developed and distributed in the present and future. The Mekong River Basin’s rich resources, and the benefits derived from them, are unevenly distributed both in time and. | Sokhem Pech and Kengo Sunada Population Growth and Natural-Resources Pressures in the Mekong River Basin The Mekong River Basin possesses the region s largest potential water source and related resources which support ongoing economic development and basin community livelihoods. It is currently witnessing a major demographic transition that is creating both opportunities and challenges. An analysis of the complex relationship between demographic changes and impacts on the natural-resource base confirms that resource exploitation is occurring not only to meet growing domestic needs but also for other vested interests. Population together with other major drivers such as institutions markets and technology will have a very strong bearing on the way in which the rich resources of the Mekong River Basin are developed and distributed in the present and future. The Mekong River Basin s rich resources and the benefits derived from them are unevenly distributed both in time and geographically. Moreover since the causes and impacts do not respect political boundaries the Mekong countries need to jointly develop alternative management strategies to meet projected demands within the sustainable capacity of the Mekong River Basin natural-resource base. INTRODUCTION The Mekong countries have a complex but interesting mosaic of demographic attributes and trends. The population of the Mekong region whole of Yunnan Province of China Myanmar Laos Thailand Cambodia and Vietnam is nearly 300 million and over 70 million people live in the Mekong River Basin 1 . The Mekong Basin possesses the region s largest potential water source and related resources. These resources are fundamental to ongoing economic development in terms of irrigation and agricultural production fisheries and aquaculture energy and forest products navigation and other modes of transport domestic and industrial water supply and tourism 2 . Levels of dependency on the river s water and related resources are very .

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