The Greater Mekong region holds irreplaceable riches ranging from rare wildlife in spectacular natural landscapes to communities with distinct cultural heritages. Cambodia, nestled between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, offers lush forests, crucial wetlands, and a healthy stretch of the Mekong River—all of which play important roles in water provisions, food security, local livelihoods, and economic development. Furthermore, Cambodia hosts one of the last remaining populations of Irrawaddy dolphins.
Yet as the region continues to enjoy a booming economy, Cambodia and its neighbors are faced with the challenge of balancing legitimate needs for development while safeguarding their natural treasures that are increasingly under threat. Freshwater resources remain particularly at risk, as the impact of development decisions are rarely known.
Bhutan is at the heart of the Eastern Himalayas, which supplies one-third of the world’s freshwater. And the country’s forests help keep climate change at bay by absorbing carbon dioxide. Bhutan is one of the world’s 10 most biodiverse countries. But Bhutan’s natural resources are on the brink of being more threatened now than ever before, despite the government’s political will and conservation milestones. Why? The country has changed more in the last 50 years than the past 500 years combined.
To minimize the threats, WWF and partners are working to protect the rivers in Bhutan that mahseer rely on to survive and to create a controlled and environmentally sound fly fishing tourism industry there that is centered around mahseer. Doing so will help save this fish and generate revenue for the country’s conservation initiatives.
WWF and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation are the first partners in an initiative to protect Peru, which is based on an innovative funding approach called Project Finance for Permanence that has been used in Brazil. The goal of the initiative is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the public land within Peru’s network of protected areas.