Improving Ecosystem Management for Sustainable Livelihoods within the Framework of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation

The Lancang-Mekong project’s interventions will contribute towards promoting integrated, and cross-sectoral collaborative approach in the management of key ecosystems and landscapes in the Lancang-Mekong region.
Project Brief
Project Name: Improving Ecosystem Management for Sustainable Livelihoods within the Framework of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation
Geographic coverage:Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam
Funding Source: China Trust Fund to UNEP (Phase II)
Project Period: 2021-2022
Project Status: Ongoing

The Lancang-Mekong River Basin encompasses six countries: Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, with the Lancang-Mekong basin national economies highly reliant on goods and services provided by forest, agricultural, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems. Taking urgent action to manage natural resources/capital, build resilience and adapt to climate change has become socio-economically compelling. Creating landscapes with healthy, functioning ecosystems is not only key to making progress towards the environmental targets embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals, but also to addressing multiple social and economic targets that depend partly or wholly on the benefits that ecosystems provide to people. 


The project aims at increasing awareness, institutional, technical and financial capacity of countries in the Lancang-Mekong region to adopt an integrated ecosystem management approach, with demonstrated ecosystem management for sustainable livelihood through pilot activities at selected transboundary areas.

Actions & Expected Outcomes

The project’s expected outcome is “Governments/key stakeholders take initial steps to increasingly apply integrated ecosystem management approaches and tools in the management of key ecosystems in the Lancang-Mekong region”. In order to achieve this, the project consists of three outputs:

Output 1: Knowledge on ecosystem health and best practices on ecosystem management in the Lancang-Mekong region developed.

This output aims to provide the knowledge base for practitioners and policy-makers on the status, tools, examples of good practices and local/traditional knowledge on integrated ecosystem management in connection with livelihoods in the region as well as policy recommendations on transboundary cooperation based on the gaps and opportunities identified.

Output 2: Cross-sectoral and transboundary collaboration on ecosystem management in the region enhanced.

This output will deliver capacity building for stakeholders in the region through various events and outreach campaign to raise the awareness and political and private sector buy-in for integrated cross-sectoral ecosystem management approaches. Also, cross-sectoral consultations and dialogues will result in cooperation agreements among stakeholders from different sectors towards integrated ecosystem management initiatives at project pilot sites. The output will also facilitate a high-level dialogue on the value of integrated ecosystem management and support a platform/network among stakeholders across multiple sectors (environment, agriculture, planning, etc.).

Output 3: Application of tools in ecosystem management demonstrated.

This output will showcase and demonstrate through pilot sites the viability and compatibility of tools and methodologies in 2 selected sites, one in Cambodia and another in China, on integrated ecosystem management for ecosystem protection and restoration and the improvement of livelihoods. 

This project is jointly implemented by UNEP-IEMP, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, UNEP headquarters (Ecosystems Division) and Lancang-Mekong Environmental Cooperation Centre (LMEC). Under this project, UNEP-IEMP is in charge of the regional outputs related to knowledge generation and capacity building. Besides, UNEP-IEMP collaborates with the Ministry of Environment (MoE), Government of Cambodia, in piloting of ecosystem management and local livelihoods improvement interventions at the Phnom Kulen National Park, along with associated consultation and capacity building activities. 

The UNEP-China Trust Fund (Phase I) project “South-South Capacity Building for Ecosystem Management in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (2015-2016)”, implemented by UNEP-IEMP, provided initial capacity building support to countries in the Mekong region on the conceptual framework and methodologies for ecosystem assessments, and therefore provided a strong basis for this project. 

For more information, please contact: Tatirose Vijitpan,