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Aligning the Freshwater Health Index Indicator System against the Transboundary Water Governance Framework of Southeast Asia’s Sesan, Srepok, and Sekong River Basin

1
Department of Geography, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
2
Conservation International, Greater Mekong Program, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
3
Center for Social Sciences, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen 518055, China
4
Conservation International, Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science, Arlington, VA 22202, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(11), 2307; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112307
Received: 10 September 2019 / Revised: 19 October 2019 / Accepted: 31 October 2019 / Published: 4 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management and Governance)
Indicator systems can improve water governance by integrating and simplifying data on water resources. However, to our knowledge, no indicator systems have been comprehensively assessed against the water governance framework within which they operate. We assess the policy relevance of the Freshwater Health Index (FHI) to the governance frameworks of Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Viet Nam. These governance frameworks were chosen because the FHI has been applied to the transboundary Sesan, Srepok, and Sekong (3S) river basin, which traverses the three nations. We conduct an institutional analysis, assessing the FHI indicators against each nation’s relevant laws, plans, policies and strategies, as well as international agreements. The FHI indicators varied in their alignment with the 3S’s transboundary water governance framework. Ecosystem Vitality indicators, which measure environmental health, tended to show a greater alignment than Ecosystem Service indicators. The Governance and Stakeholders indicators, which assess aspects of the governance system, were highly relevant. Comparing the 3S FHI assessment results to the water governance framework provided a case for delivering environmental flows and headwater reforestation, and improving biodiversity protection and fish passage. The generally close alignment of FHI metrics with the 3S’s water governance frameworks shows that the FHI is a policy-relevant tool. View Full-Text
Keywords: Freshwater Health Index; legislation; transboundary water governance; integrated water resources management; Mekong; 3S basin Freshwater Health Index; legislation; transboundary water governance; integrated water resources management; Mekong; 3S basin
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Liu, X.; Souter, N.J.; Wang, R.Y.; Vollmer, D. Aligning the Freshwater Health Index Indicator System against the Transboundary Water Governance Framework of Southeast Asia’s Sesan, Srepok, and Sekong River Basin. Water 2019, 11, 2307.

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