Investing in the Mekong region



Posted on 14 July 2005  | 
Tokyo, Japan – WWF is urging the private sector to take a greater responsibility to ensure that economic development in the Greater Mekong subregion is environmentally and socially sustainable. 

“The private sector is playing an increasingly important role in development of the region," said Dr Isabelle Louis, Director of WWF International's Asia-Pacific Programme.
 
"It is crucial that businesses and corporations demonstrate how they can contribute positively to balancing economic, social, and environmental development priorities in one of the poorest sub regions in the Asia-Pacific.”

The call comes as participants gather in Tokyo, Japan, at the Mekong Development Forum, which aims to deepen the private sector’s awareness of the common challenges facing countries within the Greater Mekong subregion, while at the same time drawing attention to potential projects and investments across a broad range of sectors, including including forestry, transport, energy, and waste management.   

Although institutions such as the Asian Development Bank have developed comprehensive safeguard policies to help address social and environmental concerns in the implementation of large infrastructure projects, WWF contends that in the Mekong region, individual projects in different sectors can no longer be considered and approved independently, but should be considered in the larger context of cumulative impact assessments at the scale of large landscapes and entire river basins. 

“An increasing number of businesses and corporations are developing and adopting innovative approaches,"  Dr Louis said.

"Embarking on new partnerships will be important to ensure that development both reduces poverty and conserves nature over the long term."

NOTES:
• The six countries of the Greater Mekong subregion include Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and China  (Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces).

For more information:
Dr Robert Mather, Country Representative
WWF Thailand
Tel: +66 1826 2657
E-mail: mather@wwfthai.org

Dermot O'Gorman, Deputy Director
WWF International Asia-Pacific Programme
Tel: +41-22 364 9262
E-mail: dogorman@wwfint.org

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