Symposium to discuss Mekong River environmental challenges

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The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is holding a three-day symposium in Ho Chi Minh City starting today to discuss environmental issues challenging the Mekong River.

The symposium will serve as an international platform for governmental decision-makers, scientists, and other organizations active in the Mekong basin, according the German-Vietnamese WISDOM Project, of which DLR is coordinator.

The German-Vietnamese WISDOM Project designs and implements an information system for the Mekong Delta in the fields of hydrology, sociology, information technology and earth observation.

The Mekong Environmental Symposium 2013 is expected to focus on severe human-induced challenges, including socio-economic transformation, urbanization and increasing linkage of riparian countries.

According to WISDOM, hydropower developments on the main stem of the Mekong are just one example of topics that lead to controversy in the Mekong Basin.

"Socio-economic development and the effects of climate change with associated shifts in flood pulse or river ecology are taking their toll on the highly sensitive aquatic ecosystem and affect the livelihoods of millions of people in the region," it said.

The symposium is bringing together over 300 stakeholders and scientists from over 20 countries.

The Mekong River flows for over 4,800 km through six countries, and is home to over 80 million inhabitants.

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