The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, in coordination with several ministries and government agencies, will organise the Kingdom’s first Mekong River Festival from March 13 to 15 next year in Kratie provincial town, located on the east bank of Asia’s seventh longest river.
Covering an estimated distance of 4,350km and originating in the Tibetan Plateau, the Mekong flows through China’s Yunnan province, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia, eventually merging into the sea in Vietnam.
“This trans-boundary river is a sustainable lifeline for thousands in Cambodia and the three-day festival is to raise awareness among the people to keep it pollution free and more importantly protect the Irrawaddy dolphin population which has made the province its home,” said NOCC secretary general Vath Chamroeun. “Cambodia as a member of the Mekong River Commission plays an important role in this co-operative network and this is a celebratory event just like our Sea Festival.
“It is quite rare to find dolphins in a river and we are fortunate to have them in hundreds here. So dolphin preservation is also one of the main themes of this festival,” added the secretary.
While the focus during the festival will be on highlighting Mekong as a great source of sustainable life and the role it has played over centuries in shaping the lives of people living along its path, the fun element will include a range of sporting activities.
Traditional boat racing is likely to be the main attraction but Kratie’s famed sandbars will also be utilised for several games such as volleyball and wrestling.
Visitors to the festival can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Irrawaddy dolphins in great numbers at the Kompi fisherman village, which is located 15km from Kratie town.
In 1995, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam established the Mekong River Commission to assist in the management and coordinated use of the Mekong’s resources. The following year, China and Myanmar, then known as Burma, became dialogue partners of the MRC and the six countries now work together within this joint framework.