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EditPhoto Title:Greater Mekong
EditPhoto Description:The mighty Mekong River and the land surrounding it hold incalculable riches — riches that are in danger.
EditImage Url:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_22007578.jpg
EditImage Description:Woman rows to a floating market in the Mekong region.
EditPhoto Credit:© Amir Jina
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Imagine a place with rivers full of fish, lush forests, incredible cultural diversity — even floating villages.

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    EditImage URL:/sitecollectionimages/maps/mekong.png
    EditImage Description:Map of the Greater Mekong region.
    EditText:

    You’re picturing the Mekong Basin, the area that surrounds the Mekong River in southeast Asia. This region spans six countries, is nearly twice the size of California and directly supports the livelihoods of more than 60 million people.

    It’s an amazing place. We depend on it.

    But we’re also changing it — and not always for the better.

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    Why is the Greater Mekong important?

    Food We Eat

    The Greater Mekong has been called Asia’s “fish basket” and its “rice bowl.” The Mekong River produces 4.5 million metric tons (9.9 billion pounds) of fish every year, contributing about 80% of the protein consumed in the region’s households. The freshwater system is also critical for growing rice, which provides more than half of the daily caloric intake in countries across the region.

    Water We Drink

    For the 60 million people who call the Greater Mekong home, and the millions more who will be joining them in the years to come, the Mekong River sustains life. From its source high on the Tibetan Plateau to its delta in Vietnam, the Mekong provides water for countless people who live along its path.

    Jobs and Prosperity

    What if you depended directly on nature to live? In the Greater Mekong, this isn’t a hypothetical question. There, some 80% of the population relies on forestry, agriculture or fishing for their livelihoods. In Laos, for example, more than two-thirds of the population is employed in the agricultural sector.

     

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    EditSection Title:What are the issues?
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    EditCircle color:fact--brown    
    EditCircle icon:icon-deforestation
    EditResult value:95%
    EditResult field:Tonle Sap forests lost
    EditText:Deforestation
    Large-scale clearing is a significant threat to the Greater Mekong’s forests. In Cambodia, forests inundated by annual floods provide the needed breeding grounds for fish and keep the lake vital and healthy. But more than 95% of the forests around the country’s Tonle Sap Lake have been destroyed by unsustainable agricultural and fishing practices.

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    EditCircle color:fact--blue    
    EditCircle icon:icon-dam
    EditResult value:>100
    EditResult field:dams planned for the Mekong
    EditText:Dams
    More than 100 dams are planned or under development on the Mekong River and its tributaries. While dams can bring energy to impoverished populations, poorly implemented dams can cause serious problems. Water levels downstream fluctuate, water quality declines, fish populations suffer and people’s livelihoods are put at risk.

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    EditCircle color:fact--green    
    EditCircle icon:icon-money
    EditResult value:>$30 billion
    EditResult field:in illegal logging
    EditText:Illegal logging and wildlife poaching
    Illegal logging and wildlife poaching are on the rise. In Cambodia, the amount of the country’s land covered by forests has fallen from over 70% in 1970 to approximately 40% in 2007. And endangered animals are being hunted and sold, leading to declining species populations and funding criminal activities and terrorism.

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    EditCircle color:fact--orange    
    EditCircle icon:icon-people
    EditResult value:60 million
    EditResult field:people affected by climate change
    EditText:Climate change
    Altered weather patterns, warmer temperatures and extreme weather are playing a serious role in the lives of those who live in the Greater Mekong. Many local villagers have little money or other resources to survive if fisheries decline or flash floods destroy their homes. As many as 60 million people in the region may be devastated by climate change.
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    CI’s solutions

    CI has worked in strategic locations across this vast interconnected landscape since 2001, helping to protect nature and all of its benefits: food, safe drinking water, renewable energy and sustainable livelihoods. Through landmark protected area management, community engagement and long-term financing, we work to ensure the mountains and forests can continue to provide the water that supports life downstream.


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    Image

    EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_94491816.jpg
    EditImage Alt Text:Anlung Reang floating village on Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia. © Kristin Harrison and Jeremy Ginsberg
    EditCaption Title:Tonle Sap Lake: Conserving Cambodia’s Fish Factory
    EditCaption Description:CI is working to ensure that Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake and its floodplains remain a healthy, naturally functioning freshwater ecosystem. We focus on improving the well-being and economic resilience of the “floating villages” atop the lake — ensuring that they have access to safe drinking water, renewable energy and diverse ways to make a living.
    EditRead More Text:Read More
    EditRead More Link:/projects/Pages/tonle-sap-lake-conserving-cambodia-fish-factory-mekong.aspx[Optional]
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    Image

    EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_14779778.jpg
    EditImage Alt Text:Areng River, Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia. © Conservation International/photo by David Emmett
    EditCaption Title:Cambodia’s Central Cardamom Protected Forest
    EditCaption Description:Cambodia’s forests cover nearly 40% of the country and are vital for the local communities that rely on them for food and livelihoods. But poor enforcement of laws against deforestation is leading to the rapid loss of these forests. CI is working to restore and protect Cambodia’s rich forest habitats.
    EditRead More Text:Read More
    EditRead More Link:/projects/pages/cambodia-central-cardamom-protected-forest.aspx[Optional]
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    Image

    EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_69712966.jpg
    EditImage Alt Text:Northern buff cheeked gibbon, Veun Sai Conservation Area, Cambodia
    EditCaption Title:Ecotourism benefits people and nature in Cambodia’s Veun Sai forest
    EditCaption Description:CI supports ecotourism, primate research and ranger training in Southeast Asia’s last pristine forest.
    EditRead More Text:Read More
    EditRead More Link:/projects/Pages/protecting-cambodias-forests.aspx[Optional]
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    Call to Action Centered (single)

    Call to Action Config

    EditCall to Action Title:What can you do?
    EditCall to Action Description:You can make a difference to people all over the world by helping to protect globally important ecosystems, like the Mekong’s Tonle Sap Lake.
    EditCall to Action Button Description:Donate now
    EditCall to Action Button Link:/donate
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    You can also help if you...

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    Title

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    Sections

    Video Section

    EditSection Title:Watch
    EditSection subtitle:Meet Sophy, a woman in the Mekong whose family has benefitted from learning sustainable fishing and smart business practices.
    EditVideo ID:1DpFxuwgVHs
    EditVideo Thumbnail (must be 16x9 pixel ratio):[Optional]
    EditVideo Page URL:/pages/video.aspx
    EditVideo image alt text:Video: Improving Lives in Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia.
    EditBackground image:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_93188989.jpg
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    Button Section

    EditSection Title:Travel sustainably
    EditSection subtitle:Tourism is a major economic driver for the Greater Mekong — and there are steps you can take to make sure your travel has a positive impact.
    EditButton link:/pages/what-you-can-do-tips.aspx#travel-sustainably
    EditButton text:Learn more
    EditBackground image:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_44083317.jpg
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    ​Email Signup Centered

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    More of Our Work Links

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    EditAnchor tag for sticky nav:[Optional]
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    First Image

    EditTitle:Food
    EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_73088367.jpg
    EditLink:/what/pages/food-agriculture-and-fisheries.aspx
    EditImage Alt Text:Woman harvests eggplant. © Benjamin Drummond

    Second Image

    EditTitle:Fresh water
    EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_22439117.jpg
    EditLink:/what/pages/fresh-water.aspx
    EditImage Alt Text:Udzungwa National Park provides the communities that surround it with clean drinking water. © Benjamin Drummond

    Third Image

    EditTitle:Livelihoods
    EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_35597459.jpg
    EditLink:/what/pages/livelihoods.aspx
    EditImage Alt Text:Fisherman cast a net to catch fish. © Keith A. Ellenbogen
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