A new two-year, $2 million project aimed at coupling sustainable development with environmental conservation on the Mekong River was launched yesterday.
The project – Wonders of the Mekong – is funded by USAID and will be led by biologist Zeb Hogan, former host of National Geographic’s Monster Fish.
“The Mekong River is the most important river on earth,” Hogan said at the launch, saying the river sustains over 60 million lives and fuels hundreds of billions of dollars of economic activity.
In addition to research and training, the project will feature a significant media initiative, meant to “increase the public’s and the government’s valuation” of the river.
“[The project] will share stories about the way the people of the region use and benefit from the Mekong River,” reads a US Embassy press release.
Polly Dunford, USAID mission director, said the project will “demonstrate how conservation is vital to Cambodia’s economic growth and the wellbeing of its citizens”.
She said the river must be conserved in order to continue being a source of prosperity, adding this would require “real commitment” from the government.