Where we work

How we work

This will be the decade in which the future of the Greater Mekong Sub-region’s wealth of natural resources is decided. Agriculture and large-scale development are central to GMS countries’ economic development plans and changing political and economic conditions, motivated by the goal of bringing the countries out of poverty, are prompting greater investment in agro-industry, hydropower, mining and other industries. These investments, which risk potentially large environmental footprints, are the principal drivers of deforestation and degradation.

The WCS Mekong Drivers Partnership works to address these threats at multiple scales to:

  1. reduce the pressure on priority high biodiversity landscapes in the GMS;
  2. provide government and local stakeholders with tools and knowledge for future planning that optimize outcomes for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, economic development, and local livelihoods;
  3. implement models that directly engage private sector leaders in mitigating unsustainable development pressures posed by development and infrastructure projects;
  4. empower local communities through a collaborative management approach toward managing protected areas that provides them with a voice and tangible benefits; and
  5. communicate results widely to build a broad-based understanding of the benefits of conservation to biodiversity and human well-being.

Through the Mekong Drivers Partnership, WCS has piloted activities that meet economic development and forest conservation goals across the GMS, sharing and replicating successful activities.

Theory of Change

The WCS Mekong Drivers Partnership improves the status of forests and biodiversity, empowers local communities and equips governments with decision-support tools by developing innovative models for conservation action in high biodiversity landscapes. These models are put to best use by working across stakeholder groups including government, local communities and private sector to strengthen the management of protected areas. Threats to conservation posed by surrounding communities are reduced by ensuring local people benefit sustainably from their local habitats and biodiversity. The combined effect is to reduce the rate of decline of biodiversity and forest cover at the target sites, and in some cases even halt or reverse those trends.




The WCS Mekong Drivers Partnership is a collaboration between government agencies, local communities, NGOs and private sector partners led by the Wildlife Conservation Society, dedicated to identifying and sharing practical ways to generate benefits from conserving natural resources that are of regional and global significance. 

We are grateful for all who have made this work possible, including from the ongoing cooperation of our partners in the following government departments:

In Cambodia this includes the national and provincial offices of the Ministry of Environment and the Forestry Authority within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 

 In Lao PDR this includes the provincial and national offices of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. 

In Myanmar this includes the provincial and national offices of the Forest Department and Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.  


The Mekong Drivers Partnership is made possible through the generous support of



This report is made possible by the generous support of the European Union through the PROJECT GRANT (DCI-EVN/2013/323-893), From Local Models to National Frameworks: Developing Innovative Models of Sustainable Financing for Protected Areas in the Three Emerging Countries of the Indo-Burma Hotspot – Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar. 

The contents are the responsibility of WCS and do not necessarily represent the views of its implementing or donor partners.

For more information, please contact the Mekong Drivers Partnership team at mekongdrivers@wcs.org 

or visit our Facebook Page at Mekong Drivers Partnership | Facebook

Download this Drivers Partnership website's content as a PDF.



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