The Mekong River, flowing from the Tibetan Plateau through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam to the South China Sea, is home to spectacular biodiversity. It hosts the world’s most productive freshwater fishery supporting critical ecosystem goods and services for tens of millions of people.
Development of upstream dams, among other activities in the region, threaten the benefits delivered by the Mekong. WWF and partners have acted to support and promote a system-wide sustainable energy plan that promotes clean and renewable energy alternatives, contributing to the country’s energy goals without damming Cambodia’s remaining free-flowing rivers. For example, in 2019, WWF hosted the Cambodia Solar Energy Forum, bringing together public sector actors from the energy sector and potential investors and developers from China and other countries interested in investing in large-scale solar projects.
The 2019 drought in the Mekong region reinforced the need for sound and reliable energy sources, especially in a changing climate. Many in the region experienced rolling black-outs, due to lower river flows affecting power generation from hydropower plants. In May 2020, following the drought and solid evidence of the risks of mainstem dams, the Cambodian government put a 10-year moratorium on any new dams on the Mekong mainstem.