UNDP partnership to help communities preserve fragile river basins

23 Mar 2011

imageUNDP Thailand/Mark S. Cogan : Water basins like this in Kanchanaburi Province will get added help as a result of UNDP's new partnership.

UNDP and the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) came together on March 22 to provide local communities the resources and expertise needed to preserve their environment. The partnership launches a ฿5 million baht (USD $857,000) small grant programme that will aim to facilitate a set of 20 projects that will address key environmental issues in Thailand’s most important river basins--the Chao Phraya and the Mae Klong.The signing ceremony was held at the MWA Head Quarter Office in Lak Si District, Bangkok.

The Water for People partnership will carry on over four years, with each phase providing at least 5 grants to targeted communities along the river basins. There is a clear connection between the natural services the environment provides and those who depend on them for their livelihoods. However, unsustainable practices pose a threat to these services in Thailand. Deforestation and industrial expansion, caused by economic and poverty factors continue to cause degradation, reducing the integrity of these ecosystems and their capacity to deliver services to the variety of life that depends on it.

“Water for People marks a new chapter in UNDP’s work in Thailand, as we are reaching out to new partners and contributors. The MWA partnership is a prime example of how the public and private sector can be more actively involved in the development of communities that have impacts on the ground,” said Gwi-Yeop Son, UNDP Resident Representative in Thailand.

The Water for People partnership joins MWA and UNDP Thailand, using the Global Environment Small Grant Programme (GEF SGP) as a mechanism. It is based on the MWA’s vision to ensure the quantity and quality of the services, to fulfill its mandate of providing ‘water for people.’

The Chao Phraya and Mae Klong Rivers are the main sources of their raw water supply.UNDP Thailand’s Environment Portfolio has managed the GEF/SGP for over a decade. The programme has become a well-established financial mechanism to channel resources to community-based environmental conservation.

Since 1993, GEF SGP has provided supported to 388 community-based organizations, totaling over $5 million across Thailand, covering issues such as climate change, water, land degradation, biodiversity, organic pollutants, and more.

The joint UNDP-GEF and MWA project aims to: 1) Preserve water quality and improve environment in target river basins; 2) Enhance community-based co-management efforts along river basins; 3) Promote local awareness and capacity building in river basin management; 4) Promote the exchange of best practices and lessons learned among stakeholders; 5) Support MWA in meeting its CSR mandates in cost effective, sustainable manner..