Living River Association is a grassroots NGO working towards community-based conservation of the Mekong River and its tributaries.
The Mekong has the largest inland fishery in the world, supporting 60-65 million people and providing around 25% of total freshwater fish catch globally. This river system is also home to an astonishing diversity of life – after the Amazon it has the second highest number of freshwater species – including large enigmatic fauna such as the giant Mekong catfish and the last remaining populations of the Critically Endangered Mekong subpopulation of the Irrawaddy dolphin.
Yet despite being the world’s most productive river system, the Mekong is becoming increasingly vulnerable. The construction of mainstream dams on the river’s lower and middle reaches threaten to drastically alter the flow of the river, and with it, the habitats on which many species rely. Meanwhile, compounding pressures such as agricultural and industrial pollution, destructive fishing practices, water abstraction and climate change mean the Mekong is a river system currently on the edge of irreparable degradation.
Living River Association are addressing this challenge by working with local communities to promote sustainable management of the river system and wetland forests based on local knowledge. They understand that local communities are the key to environmental change and that they hold the rights and knowledge to protect and nurture their environments. They also have an excellent network of eight local Thai groups placed in different provinces along the Mekong meaning they are one of the few groups able to work effectively from grassroots to international levels.
Synchronicity Earth has supported Living River Association for their work to conserve the Mekong river and its tributaries in Northern Thailand since 2013.