1. Partner Organizations:

  1. Royal University of Agriculture (RUA), Cambodia
  2. Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), Cambodia
  3. Build Bright University (BBU), Cambodia
  4. Pannasastra University (PU), Cambodia
  5. Southwest Forestry University, China
  6. Yunnan University (YU), China
  7. National University of Laos (NUOL), Lao PDR
  8. Champasak University (CPU), Lao PDR
  9. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Malaysia
  10. Yezin Agricultural University (YAU), Myanmar
  11. University of Forestry (UF), Myanmar
  12. Yangon University (YU), Myanmar
  13. Chulalongkorn University (CU), Thailand
  14. Khon Kaen University (KKU), Thailand
  15. Mahasarakham University (MSU), Thailand
  16. Mahidol University (MU), Thailand
  17. Kasetsart University (KU), Thailand
  18. An Giang University (AGU), Vietnam
  19. Can Tho University (CTU), Vietnam
  20. Nong Lam University (NLU), Vietnam
  21. University of Science (UNS), Vietnam
  22. Tay Nguyen University (TNU), Vietnam

2. BACKGROUND

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 globally threatened species. Despite their importance, wetlands in the lower Mekong Basin have suffered from widespread destruction due to misuses and abuses and have been threatened by population growth, increased exploitation of biological resources, pollution of various forms, development activities, mis-management, invasive species, climate change and sea level rise. As in many parts of the developing world, wetland resources and biodiversity of the lower Mekong Basin are under serious threats.

Protecting wetlands to safeguard biodiversity and sustain their profits to local communities becomes necessary for all six riparian countries. Conserving wetland ecosystems and their resources through a better understanding of wetland biodiversity and the application of ecologically-sound management is urgently needed. To carry out this task, the six riparian countries within the Mekong River basin need a sufficient number of wetland scientists, researchers, educators, government officials and community leaders who are willing and able to work in the field of wetland biodiversity conservation and management.

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. On 22 May 2003, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed by representatives of 8 universities. In February 2008, the new Memorandum of Understanding was re-signed at Salaya, Thailand with five more universities of Lao PDR, Thailand and Malaysia joined the network. In March 2013, the MoU was renewed at Can Tho University at which five more from Myanmar, China Thailand and Vietnam became members of the network. The University Network for Wetland Ecology and Conservation Trainings in the Mekong Region currently has 22 members. During the 12-year term (2002-2015) of academic agreement, the Network has trained 275 wetland researchers, educators and managers. They contribute significantly to wetland education, research, trainings, and wetland biodiversity conservation and management in the Mekong Region.

The Network facilitates academic cooperation in wetland education, and communication, wetland research, regional wetland conferences and consultations, construction and implementation of regional training courses focusing on field-biology aspects of wetland ecology and conservation. The longer-term goal of the Network is to strengthen the capacity of member universities in establishing complete academic MSc and PhD programs in wetland ecology and conservation. Member universities take turn in hosting the training courses on Wetland Ecology and Management on a yearly basis, using important wetland sites of each riparian country within the Mekong basin as natural training classes and laboratories. Besides training, the Network also organized international joint research projects involving member universities and other research institutions worldwide. Four of such research collaborations have been carried out, including two botanical research funded by French government, a research on urban wetlands funded by European Union and a study on persistent organic pollutants (POP) on wetland of the Mekong Basin funded by the U.S. Department of State. The largest among these is the POP study, involving 8 universities of the Network and 3 research institutions in the U.S. (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USGS National Wetland Research Center and International Crane Foundation).

3. POTENTIAL LONG TERM BENEFITS

            The University Network for Wetland Ecology and Conservation Trainings in the Mekong Region has several unique characteristics. Its operating activities can contribute to education for sustainable development due to the following reasons:

(a)The Network provides education and trainings on wetland ecology and conservation. Wetland ecosystems and their resources are contributing to subsistent livelihoods, food and water security, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development of rural economy of the Mekong region.

(b)The establishment and operation of the Network takes into account the ecosystem approach and a river basin-based approach i.e. the Mekong River Basin. A river basin is an appropriate unit for addressing the wetland management issues and integrating wise use of wetlands into the basin development plan and sustainable development of the whole river basin. A river basin is also an appropriate unit for wetland education, research and trainings as well as communication and public awareness.

(c)Among the prioritized target trainees of the Network’s training activities are junior lecturers and researchers of member universities.  In the future, they will be an important task force in wetland education, research and trainings region-wide. Each member university benefits in the long term through capacity building of its academic staff. In addition, the prioritized target trainees of the Network also include protected areas staff, government officials, staff of NGOs and community-based organizations local facilitators, field coordinators, and grassroots leaders. They, too, will be an important task force in wetland biodiversity conservation and management.

(d)The Network’s training activities require minimal expertise from outside. Trainers are selected and drawn from member universities within the region. Trainings are provided using available expertise, experience, as well as teaching facilities of member universities.

(e)The Network operates regional training activities, using key wetland ecosystems of the Mekong region as natural laboratories for the trainings. Course contents are field-oriented and emphasize on in-situ trainings and hands-on exercises. Trainees have a holistic view and insight of wetland ecosystems within the Mekong region. They also have opportunities to share their knowledge and experience with colleagues from other riparian countries and learn from each other.

(f)The Network enhances partnerships among individual academics as well as between institutions, therefore strengthens the capacity and enhances cooperative efforts in wetland research, communication, education, and public awareness within the Mekong region.

4. COURSE OVERVIEW

Overall Purposes:

(a)To build and enhance the capacity of university lecturers and researchers of the Mekong countries in teaching wetland-related courses, conducting scientific research in wetland-related fields, and assisting wetland conservation practices;

(b)To enhance the understanding in wetland’s values and threats to the sustainable socio-economic development of the whole Mekong river basin;

(c)To enhance the knowledge and understanding in wetland ecology and management of protected areas staff, junior staff of GOs, NGOs and CBOs, grassroots and community leaders and facilitators of the Mekong riparian countries and to improve their capacity in wetland conservation and management practices.

Specific Objectives:

  1. To introduce the concepts and principles of wetland ecology and management;
  2. To provide intensive academic and practical training on wetland ecosystem management, focusing on wetland biodiversity conservation and it’s threats in the Mekong Basin;
  3. To provide in-situ training and hands-on experience in designing and conducting wetland surveys, inventory, studies, threat analysis and research in wetland conservation and management by means of field projects carried out by course participants;
  4. To introduce education and training methodology for the design and implementation of wetland academic courses and special training for communities in wetland-related subjects.

Specific Outcomes:

The course participants will:

  1. understand the concepts and principles of wetland ecology;
  2. have knowledge on major wetland ecosystems of the Mekong region and their biodiversity;
  3. have knowledge on approaches and methods, techniques and equipments commonly used in wetland biodiversity surveys and research and wetland management;
  4. understand major issues, threats related to wetland management in the Mekong basin;
  5. exchange knowledge and experiences on the wetland management and adaptation;
  6. have experience in designing and conducting wetland studies and research;
  7. understand methods and have necessary materials to transfer knowledge on wetland ecosystems to communities and wider public, and to develop and teach wetland courses at university level.

Specific Outputs:

  1. Twenty six university researchers and lecturers who are well-equipped with knowledge, expertise, educational materials, and ready to join a task force in conservation and management of wetlands and their biodiversity in the Mekong Region;
  2. Curriculum and course materials for use in future courses;
  3. Course report;
  4. Field project reports, including field data collected during course implementation;

 

Special training activity

In addition to regular training activities listed above, the training course this year will include a special training session on surface elevation monitoring and installation of 3 Surface Elevation Table benchmarks in wetlands of the Irrawaddy Delta. This session will be carried out by USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.

5. TRAINERS/INSTRUCTORS

Lead Instructors:

  • Dr. Donald Cahoon: US Geological Survey (USA)
  • Dr. Sansanee Choowaew, Mahidol University (Thailand)
  • Dr. Richard Keim, Louisiana State University (USA) 
  • Mr. Nguyen Hoai Bao, University of Science at Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
  • Dr. Duong Van Ni, Can Tho University (Vietnam)
  • Dr. Tran Triet, International Crane Foundation (USA)

Local experts: to be identified by the host university

 

6. PARTICIPANTS

Number of Participants:  26 (20 international and 6 Myanmar participants)

  • Employment/Occupation :  Junior lecturers, teaching assistants, researchers and postgraduate students from appropriate departments of 22 member universities of the Network; protected areas staff; junior staff of wetland-related GOs, NGOs of the Mekong riparian countries; community leaders and facilitators; media.
  • Minimum Qualification:  BSc degree or equivalent;
  • Essential Skills, Experience, and Attributes:  Being able to listen, speak, read and write in English; being able to work in the field; having worked relating to wetland ecosystems; being interested in wetland ecosystems; willing to work on wetlands management issues, e.g. teach wetland-related courses, conduct research on wetlands, assist wetland biodiversity conservation and management practices, wetland education, communication and public awareness;
  • Recruitment procedure: The Trainees Selection Committee of each member university within the Network selects and nominates number of participants.

7. TRAINING METHODS

(a)In-class lectures, key concepts

(b)In-situ training, hands-on observations and exercises;

(c)Developing essential technical skills such as field survey, measurement, inventory, assessment, monitoring, participatory rural appraisal (PRA), interview, facilitating techniques, team work, group discussion, oral presentation, report writing, conceptualizing research concept;

(d)Encouraging active participation from trainees and sharing experience through activities such as brain-storming, group discussion, presentation, workshop.

Upcoming Training Course

The 13th WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE MEKONG BASIN T: July, 2016 V: Yangon University, Myanmar
Sponsors Host

Yangon University, Myanmar

Contact Information

Nguyen Hoai Bao

nhbao@hcmus.edu.vn

Agenda The 12th Training Course WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE MEKONG BASIN T: 6 – 23 July 2015 V: Myanmar
Sponsors

International Crane Foundation & Yezin Agricultural University

Host

Yezin Agricultural University, Nay Pi Taw, Myanmar

Contact Information

Tran Triet

ttriet@gmail.com

Nang Hseng Hom 

nanghsenghom@gmail.com

Duong Van Ni 

duongvani@gmail.com

Sansanee Choowaew 

sansanee.cho@mahidol.ac.th

Nguyen Hoai Bao

nhbao@hcmus.edu.vn

Agenda The 11th International Training Course on WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE MEKONG BASIN T: 31 May – 17 June, 2014 V: Thailand
Sponsors

International Crane Foundation, USA
Department of State, USA
Mahasarakham University, Thailand
Walai Rukkhavej Botanical Research Institute, Mahasarakham University, Thailand

Host

Mahasarakham University, Thailand

Contact Information
Agenda The 10th Training Course on WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE MEKONG BASIN T: July 18 – August 6, 2012 V: Vietnam
Sponsors

East & Southeast Asia Regional Environment, Science, Technology and Health Office
U.S. Embassy Thailand
U.S. Geological Survey, USA
International Crane Foundation, U.S.A
An Giang University

Host

An Giang University – Vietnam

Contact Information
Agenda The 9th Training Course on WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE MEKONG BASIN T: 10 – 27 June 2011 V: Malaysia,
Sponsors

University Sains Malaysia
U.S. Geological Survey, USA
International Crane Foundation, U.S.A
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Host

Universiti Sains Malaysia

Contact Information
Agenda The 8th Training Course on WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE LOWER MEKONG BASIN T: 4 – 18 July, 2010 V: Cambodia
Sponsors

National Wetland Research Center – U.S. Geological Survey, USA
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, U.S.A
International Crane Foundation, U.S.A

Host

Royal University of Agriculture, Kingdom of Cambodi

Contact Information
Agenda The 7th Regional Training Course on WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE LOWER MEKONG BASIN T: 27 May – 18 June 2009 V: Chulalongkorn University & Champasack University
Sponsors Host Contact Information
Agenda The 6th Regional Training Course on WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE LOWER MEKONG BASIN T: 11-30 May 2008 V: Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, Thailand
Sponsors Host

Chulalognkorn University, Thailand

Contact Information
Agenda The 5th Training Course on WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE LOWER MEKONG BASIN T: May 20 - June 10, 2007 V: Vietnam
Sponsors

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
International Crane Foundation (ICF)
World WildLife Fund (WWF) Russel E. Train Fund
USGS-National Wetland Research Center
Cantho University (CTU)

Host

Cantho University, Vietnam

Contact Information
Agenda The 4th Training Course on WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE LOWER MEKONG BASIN T: July 12 - August 01, 2006 V: Cambodia
Sponsors

IUCN/UNDP/GEF Mekong Wetland Biodiversity Conservation Programme
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
International Crane Foundation

Host

Royal University of Phnom Penh

Contact Information
Agenda The 3rd Training Course on WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE LOWER MEKONG BASIN T: 3-24 August 2005 V: Lao PDR
Sponsors

IUCN/UNDP/GEF Mekong Wetland Biodiversity Conservation Programme
Royal Netherlands Embassy in Vietnam
WWF Russell E. Train Education for Nature Programme
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
International Crane Foundation

Host

National University of Laos

Contact Information
Agenda The 2nd Training Course on WETLAND ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE LOWER MEKONG BASIN T: 10 – 30 May 2004 V: Thailand
Sponsors

IUCN/UNDP/GEF Mekong Wetland Biodiversity Conservation Programme
International Crane Foundation
Rockefeller Foundation
Mahidol University

Host

Mahidol University

Contact Information
Agenda Training Course WETLAND ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION IN THE LOWER MEKONG BASIN T: 1 – 26 June 2003 V: Vietnam
Sponsors

ASEAN Regional Center for Biodiversity Conservation
International Crane Foundation
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Host

University of Natural Sciences, Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City
Can Tho University

Contact Information
Agenda

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Contact Details

Duong Van Ni

CEO, Wetland University Network (WUN)

College of Natural Resource Management

T: +84 909 987 887

E: duongvani@gmail.com

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