As the frontline voices for many communities, civil society plays a crucial role in the management of natural resources and serves as a rich － yet under-utilised － source of on-the-ground knowledge and grassroots networks which are key to conservation. But with limited civic space and funding, as well as legislative restrictions and systemic inequalities, their ability to network and exchange information across diverse stakeholders is also limited.
We believe working in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and local communities and facilitating information exchanges and collaboration at the local, national and regional levels is the most effective, equitable and efficient way to restore the natural world and ensure a sustained and secure Mekong. Through the Mekong for the Future project, supported by USAID, WWF is working with communities in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand to support regional cooperation and address transboundary issues in the Lower Mekong region. By connecting local civil society with governments, researchers and practitioners, we are linking practice to policy through evidence-based, community-led research and initiatives by:
- Equipping civil society organisations with advocacy tools and training support on social inclusion and gender equality, empowering them to participate in decision-making and policy development
- Improving access, literacy and transparency in data on climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation among communities
- Providing opportunities for cross-sectoral and transboundary networking and learning to inform natural resource management strategies more representatively