The Mekong River is one of the great rivers of the world. Wetlands of the lower Mekong basin are intimately linked with the ecological balance and socioeconomic well-being, nourishing a population of 60 million people of 6 countries: China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Wetland ecosystems maintain and support vital ecological functions, as well as provide valuable products and services for human activities. The biodiversity of the Mekong wetlands is of international significance, including many unique ecosystems and a wide range of globally threatened species such as Giant catfish, Siamese crocodile, Eastern sarus crane, Giant ibis, and Irrawaddy dolphin.

Despite their importance, wetlands in the Mekong River Basin have suffered from widespread destruction due to misuses and abuses. Wetlands are threatened by population growth, increased exploitation of biological resources, timber harvest, pollutions of various forms, development activities and mis-management.

Conserving wetland ecosystems and their resources through a better understanding of wetland ecology and the application of ecologically-sound management is urgently needed.

To implement this task, the 6 riparian countries within the Mekong River basin need a sufficient number of experts and technical staff who are willing and able to work in the field of wetland conservation. It has been a challenge for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to find enough competent native professionals to work on wetlands and on natural resource management in general. It is worthwhile to raise awareness and foster interests in wetland conservation among undergraduate and graduate students of these countries in hopes that those students will get involved in wetland research and conservation practices as they develop their career. There is also a great demand in providing practical trainings in wetland ecology and management for protected areas staff, government officials and other interested parties.

The collaboration among universities of China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam is essential, both in effectively providing regional trainings and in improving understanding and cooperation among researchers and educators of the region. The establishment of a network of universities of the region is proposed, discussed and established. The network will facilitate the construction and implementation of regional training courses focusing on field-biology aspects of wetland ecology and conservation.



The University Network for Wetland Research and Training in the Mekong Region (Wetland University Network – WUN) was formed in 2002 when leaders of 8 regional universities convened to create a process that would improve their collective understanding of wetlands in the Mekong region and bui ...

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Overall Purposes

  • To build and enhance the capacity of university lecturers and researchers of the Mekong region in teaching wetland-related courses, conducting scientific research in wetland-related fields, and assisting wetland conservation practices;
  • To enhance the understanding in wetland’s values and threats to the sustainable socio-economic development of the whole Mekong river basin;
  • To enhance the knowledge and understanding in wetland ecology and management of protected areas staff, junior staff of GOs, NGOs and CBOs, grassroots and ...

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Contact Details

Duong Van Ni

CEO, Wetland University Network (WUN)

College of Natural Resource Management

T: +84 909 987 887



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