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River Conservation and COP28: The Role of Mekong Rivers in Combating Climate Change


As COP28 unfolds a few weeks ahead, water and river conservation is poised to claim a prominent spot on the climate agenda. Experts from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) emphasize that healthy, interconnected river systems can significantly contribute to global efforts to combat climate change.

However, there are conflicting views on how rivers should be used to tackle climate change.

In last year's climate conference, proponents of hydropower called for governmental support and incentives to meet the growing demand for renewable energy. Civil society groups, on the other hand, urged governments to exclude new large hydropower projects from their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) due to their impacts on ecosystems and human rights risks.

This ongoing debate forms a central part of the broader discourse on water management and governance in the Lower Mekong region, where rivers and floodplains are lifelines and sources of energy for millions of people.

Drawing on the water discussions of the previous climate conference, which are expected to continue at COP28, this webinar took a deep dive into the present state of the Mekong region's rivers and their pivotal roles in climate mitigation and adaptation. It also featured an expert analysis of the key river conservation issues that journalists should watch for at the forthcoming climate conference.


  • Marc Goichot, lead for Freshwater Asia Pacific, WWF
  • Katharine Cross, strategy and partnership lead, Australian Water Partnership
  • Saengrawee Suweerakan, steering committee, Network of Indigenous Women in Asia



  • Paritta Wangkiat, Mekong program officer, Earth Journalism Network


The webinar was held in English. The recording is also available in Khmer and Thai.

Please click on the speakers' names to download their presentations.