The Mekong, one of the world’s most significant rivers, is central to its inhabitants’ livelihood, imperative to an emerging world economy, and a critically important paragon of the challenges in achieving global environmental sustainability. The Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) is placed in the Indo-Burma hotspot by biologists; an area of great interest to scholars due to an extraordinary diversity of plant and animal life. Today, rapid infrastructure development and land use conversions coupled with climate change threats such as sea level rise and extreme weather conditions are resulting in accelerated changes to the basin’s physical and ecological processes. Meanwhile, researchers in the US and globally are also actively working to address similar issues surrounding the impact of climate change and population growth on the natural environment; and many have also been developing fruitful research partnerships with LMB scientists. Recognizing the value of sharing knowledge, tools, and best practices to tackle globally relevant challenges, the University of Virginia and its partners are convening a research symposium for Mekong and global researchers to engage in discussions to explore mechanisms and opportunities for collaborations. Concurrently, while access to quality data is widely recognized as a key enabler for successful research, many challenges exist for LMB researchers and institutions to effectively manage, share, and use data for their needs. Therefore, the symposium will focus on identifying data-sharing bottlenecks and develop strategies to build technical capacity for Mekong researchers and institutions.
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