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EditPhoto Title:Healthy Fish Habitat Secures Food and Income
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EditImage Description:Sunrise on the Mekong
EditPhoto Credit:© Akuppa John Wigham
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Health and livelihoods in the Sekong River Basin in Laos are threatened by increased demand for fish, forest products and electricity.

Poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation are inextricably linked in the lands around the Sekong, ​​a major tributary of the Mekong River in Laos (officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic or Lao P.D.R.), where freshwater fisheries are critical for the economy and ensuring food security. ​

In fact, fish contribute to 61% of the region’s protein intake. Yet, driven by high demand and destructive fishing, the fisheries in this region are under threat of becoming less productive and less diverse — placing communities at risk.

Our role

With support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)​, Laos communities are co-managing fisheries and protecting the freshwater ecosystems they rely on. CEPF is a joint initiative of l'Agence Française de Développement, CI, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. Through grants to civil society — non-governmental organizations, private sector entities, communities and individuals — CEPF empowers people to be good stewards of the planet, so they and future generations continue to benefit from its life-sustaining resources like clean air, fresh water, a stable climate and healthy soils.

Our plan

As part of its Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot​ conservation strategy, CEPF awarded ​WWF with US$ 200,000 to help protect the critical freshwater habitats of Lao P.D.R. Fisheries co-management was arranged between local communities and the government, giving communities that live along and fish in the Sekong River Basin the authority to demarcate protected areas and enforce village regulations within them. WWF worked with these communities to draft fish conservation zone management plans that gained endorsement from the Laos Department of Livestock and Fisheries within the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The project aimed to demonstrate to policymakers the importance of healthy freshwater ecosystems to local communities in the Sekong River Basin by fostering the development of community groups to protect freshwater habitats.

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EditImage Alt Text:Dried fish in bamboo baskets at street market in Luang Prabang, Laos
EditTitle:By the numbers
EditSubtitle:75% of communities
EditText:The project established communal fishing conservation zones for 24 villages along 500 kilometers of riparian habitat in the Sekong River Basin — and 75% of these communities have reported fishing gains.
EditPhoto Credit:© L Bute
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    EditImage Alt Text:Night falls over Rio de Janeiro. © Nikada

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    EditTitle:Science and Innovation
    EditImage Alt Text:Scientists set a camera trap. © Benjamin Drummond

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