|Abstract or Summary
- “International river basin is defined as an area extending over two or more states determined by the watershed limits of the system of waters, including surface and underground waters, flowing into a common terminus” (Shapiro-Libai, 1969, p. 22). There are 276 international river basins providing almost 60% of global freshwater and supporting at least 40% of the world population. Over recent decades, the riparian governments of the Lancang-Mekong River, like other international river basin leaders, may have had different and sometimes conflicting interests in promoting their economies through exploiting shared water, preserving their aquatic resources, or both, in the basin. Accordingly, their interactions have created water events, which can be neutral, conflictive, or cooperative. In this secondary-data paper, there are seven levels of conflicts and seven levels of cooperation, ranging from -7 to -1 and from +1 to +7, respectively. The main discussions of this paper focus on frequencies in each level, outstanding factors found in either conflicts or cooperation of the events, and policy implications. The 190 events from 1952 to 2010 in the Lancang-Mekong River Basin are found to be overwhelmingly cooperative. The result means that six riparian governments – China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam – would like to work together. However, these nations will need to do more, especially relating to three outstanding factors found in the conflictive events: dam development, navigation projects, and droughts. In addition, memberships of both China and Burma are strongly needed in the Mekong River Committee (MRC).