The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Bureau of Global Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, U.S. Embassy Bangkok, and the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership are pleased to announce the second Mekong Virtual Symposium. As part of the U.S. Vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, the U.S. government is committed to providing a platform that encourages information sharing, dialogue, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement for cooperative, responsible management of the Mekong River. The U.S. engagement in the Mekong region has long supported transparent, open cooperation for sustainable management of the river. The U.S. recently affirmed and elevated this commitment with the launch of the Mekong – U.S. Partnership. This engagement builds trust among partners and stakeholders and strengthens cooperation not only on water issues but also for natural resources management more broadly.

This program will engage key stakeholders on the range of issues facing the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia: fishing and fish migration, plastics, floods and droughts, sediment, and dam impacts. The Mekong River is home to one of the most biodiverse river ecosystems in the world with over 1,100 species of fish. The Tonle Sap Lake – the world’s most productive inland fishery – is a unique and critical part of this complex system. During the annual monsoon season, the lake swells in size and experiences a flow reversal, where water begins flowing from the Mekong into the lake. This phenomenon is fundamental to maintaining fish passage and sediment flows, and ultimately, the thriving ecosystems and livelihoods reliant on the Tonle Sap. As drought and dams have led the Mekong’s flow reversal to happen later and later each year, the Tonle Sap now faces an uncertain future.

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