HSBC has partnered with WWF-Thailand to secure the Ramsar designation for the lower Songkhram River basin - Thailand’s 15th Ramsar site , marking a remarkable case of success in conservation work.
The lower Songkhram River basin sits in one of the most important rivers in northeastern Thailand, giving one of the country’s few abundant waterways an international recognition for its rich biodiversity and ecosystem value.
A thriving natural environment is essential for self-sustaining communities and we are honoured to be part of such a successful project that has served as an example of cooperation among the business sector, conservationists at WWF-Thailand and local residents. In addition to our financial support, my colleagues and I were also very pleased to get involved on the ground in a number of hands-on projects – experiences which really resonated with all of us, enabling us to truly understand the value of the wetlands and the importance of protecting them.
HSBC Global Water Programme is a five-year programme to promote water as a fundamental driver of socio-economic growth. As part of the programme, WWF-Thailand held a 3-year conservation project entitled “The Conservation of the Lower Songkhram River” which resulted in the development of numerous participatory mechanisms contributing to the protection and restoration of an important freshwater source in Northeast Thailand.
This project covers 34,000 rai of wetlands located on the lower Songkhram River, mostly in the Tha Uthen and Sri Songkhram districts in Nakhon Phanom province. As the only tributary of the Mekong which still runs free and unobstructed, the Songkhram River is where 124 fish species can swim freely and use it as a spawning ground. The river also sustains 240,000 villagers who live along a 92-kilometer stretch of the river.
The Songkhram River is one of the most important rivers in northeastern Thailand and crucial to the livelihoods of over 1.45 million locals. The river serves as breeding grounds for fish, while also greatly contributing to the local communities’ food and economic security. The lives of more than 60 million people in four countries in the region depend on the river. Being formally recognised as Thailand’s 15th Ramsar site and the 2,420th on the Ramsar List will prevent the wetlands from disappearing, allowing the local communities to utilise the natural resources of the wetlands ecosystems more sustainably.
After the conservation success of the Songkhram River basin, WWF-Thailand has applied the same practice to the Nong Harn River, another important ecosystem in Sakon Nakhon, a province located in northeast Thailand where at least 133 species of fish and 156 species of birds are found.
The Nong Han River basin covers an area of 77,000 rai and is the largest natural lake in the Northeast. The lake was originally established as a source for the improvement, maintenance and conservation of aquatic animals. Nowadays, it has turned into a multi-purpose water resource that is used for consumption, agriculture and fisheries.