Safeguarding the environment in the Greater Mekong Subregion

8 May 2018

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) is home to 340 million people and is made up of six countries Cambodia, China (Yunnan and Guangxi provinces) Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. It is considered one of the world's most significant biodiversity hotspots, but is also rapidly developing economically.  With this comes the risk of damage to the environment. The aim of the Greater Mekong Subregion Environment Operations Center (EOC) and its Core Environment Program (CEP), launched in 2006, is to help governments and other stakeholders better manage the environmental risks of rapid economic development, as well as to stay abreast of ongoing effects across the subregion.

Disseminating information and facilitating subregional collaboration are key functions of the EOC.  Initially, QUO worked with EOC to create a single website that addressed both the work of CEP and presented relevant data for the subregion. A few years later, a decision was made to offer stakeholders and target audiences two sites. Again EOC and QUO worked together, this time to separate the information into self-sufficient sites, each with a more specific purpose. One site (http://www.gms-eoc.org) presents information on the CEP, including what it does, where it works, a resource library organised by theme and country, and news and events. This site also introduces the EOC team, the Working Group on Environment, the National Support Units and CEP Partners; and highlights the achievements and progress of the programme.

The other site is the GMS Information Portal (http://portal.gms-eoc.org), developed to serve as an online resource centre for environmental management in the subregion regarding biodiversity, energy, tourism, transport and land use, among other environmental themes. The portal contains multiple resources, indicator tables, maps and electronic tools that visitors can access and download. An interactive chart generator was programmed into the site to assist in data visualisation. Using this feature, approved users can input values into the website’s Content Management System (CMS) to generate fully interactive charts. Site visitors can then contrast and isolate data by nation, theme and content, enabling them to gain a clearer focus on the many issues affecting this dynamic region.

This portal is designed not only to host CEP data, resources and other information, but is to be also used as a repository for sharing subregional data gathered by governments, organizations, research institutions or other sources.

Each of the sites prominently provides a link at the top to its EOC-CEP companion site.