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Small-Medium-Large: Water Stewardships with SMEs
in the Greater Mekong Region
© Hkun Lat/ WWF-Myanmar
Project: SML- Greater Mekong
SML- Greater Mekong

Support the regional development objective of creating an economically prosperous, socially equitable and environmentally sound Greater Mekong region, and to work towards maintaining and improving river basin health.

About the project

Part of our Freshwater Programme, SML-Greater Mekong is a three-year project 50 % funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and co-funded by other donors such as EU-Switch Asia. Both Mekong and Ayeyarwady Rivers function as a lifeline for communities, commerce, and ecosystems in their respective watersheds. The degradation of river quality leads to enormous losses in economic prosperity, agricultural productivity, food security, people's well-being, regional stability and freshwater biodiversity.

In Vietnam, the Mekong Delta area shelters 62% of textile and apparel factories and contributes more than 40% of the country's GDP. While one of the top five garment exporters in the world, the country suffers from over-exploitation of water resources and pollution from industrial actives. It is critically important to initiate a sustainable sectoral transformation to reap social, economic and conservation benefits for the country and in the Mekong region. (For more information see WWF’s Textile programme in Vietnam.)

Likewise, the Ayeyarwady River is the engine of the Myanmar economy, and the basin provides the majority of economic value to the country. But the industrial activities in the basin also generate various water-related risks. There is a serious impact jeopardizing the health of the river and of the communities that rely on it. Small-scale enterprises comprise 80% of the industrial sector within the Ayeyarwady Basin and cause significant water pollution. (For more information on WWF’s Water stewardships projects in Myanmar.)

Addressing those water-related risks, the project supports SMEs through WWF's water stewardship approach, and promotes the sustainable management of water as a shared resource through collective actions by all relevant stakeholders. The project is implemented in the textile sector in Vietnam and in the food and beverage (F&B) sector in Myanmar. It will promote and support the participation of all stakeholders in river management and governance processes both in Vietnam and Myanmar, and at the regional level.

SMEs in the Greater Mekong Region will improve their water and energy management and reduce pollution as part of a water stewardship approach, involving financial institutions, CSOs and government agencies.

To allow the private sector, in particular SMEs, and other stakeholders, to participate in river management and governance.
Targeted SMEs in Vietnam and Myanmar apply practices and technologies to improve water and energy efficiency and reduce polluted water discharges.
The business case for green financing is demonstrated with the banking sector providing funds for water and energy investments to SMEs.
Collective actions amongst SMEs, CSOs and public sector lead to improved national policies/regulations and enforcement to provide the enabling environment for continued sustainable actions by SMEs.
By 2020
Awareness and knowledge of water risk and energy used status improved in targeted SMEs
By 2020
Establish the engagement process between Vietnam and China’s textile sectors
By 2021
Develop a list of bankable projects or a bankable programme for SMEs in the textile sector
By 2021
Targeted commercial banks in Vietnam have explored and allocated credit line to support water and energy improvement projects in the SMEs in textile sector.
By 2022
More SMEs are committed to conduct water and energy auditing, and replicating the pilot examples
Corporate Water Stewardship Working Group and sectoral level alliance is formalized and ready to support internal and collective actions from SMEs.
By 2022
CSOs and communities are capacitated of monitoring and governing water management by SMEs in the targeted areas
By 2022
Establishment of the multi-stakeholder regional platform to participate in river management and governance process
© Min Zayar Oo - WWF-US