Building a Mekong Youth Parliament

Children are the world‘s future, and giving them opportunities to participate in shaping that future is important, so even now their connectivity with nature and other peoples is nurtured and made firm through their actions and growing awareness.

terre des hommes Germany  has long recognized the important role that children and young people can play in protecting nature, promoting their rights, and in pursuing a sustainable and equitable development. The Mekong Youth Parliament project aims to provide this space for children and young people to protect the Mekong river and its diversity and have their voices heard by policy-decision makers so the future of Mekong is not imperiled.

Mekong Region is rich in ethnic and cultural diversity, natural resources, watersheds and biodiversity. The region is considered a significant biodiversity hotspot. Mekong River which flows through five countries in the region serves as the lifeblood for over 60 million people. For the people who inhabit the Mekong River Basin, the Mekong River – the “Mother of Waters” as it is called – is much more than just a natural resource. The river is the heart and soul of mainland South-East Asia. For the people whose lives depend on its waters, the river is a way of life, a home for the spirits, a social arena, a place where life unfolds, a source not only of survival but also of profound meaning.

Nowadays, the Mekong is changing with the construction of large dams which induce conflict, insecurity and displacement. These dams, as well as other river issues like pollution, blasting of the rapids for navigation, threaten the survival of millions of people who depend on the river for their subsistence and well-being.

The project aims to raise public awareness on issues affecting the Mekong River and promote the active participation of children and young people in protecting the Mekong River and providing them with the opportunities to express their views and engage in group activities which help in promoting the integrity and richness of nature.

The Mekong Youth Parliament was established by the young people themselves to strengthen the “Our Rivers Our Life” campaign in South East Asia and to eventually be recognized as a legitimate voice of children and young people in the region for the protection of the Mekong. The group is waging a campaign with the slogan “We love Mekong River”. A webpage has been created, where a collection of important information related to the Mekong River and livelihoods of people can be found. Everyone is invited to visit that webpage.