Collective Actions and Challenges Analysis on Management of the Mekong River as Common Pool Resources

Ni Nyoman Clara Listya Dewi(1*)

(1) Master of Arts in International Relations University of Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


The countries of the Indochinese peninsula think that the Mekong River is a shared resource that must be managed through cooperation between countries. However, because many countries exploit the resources in the Mekong River, it triggers an increase in environmental degradation. This phenomenon has prompted the establishment of the 1995 Mekong Agreement and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) which aims to agree on cooperation in sustainable development, conservation, and management of resources in river areas. However, as an upstream country, China did not want to join the Mekong River Commission. In fact, China initiated a new collaboration called the Lancang Mekong Cooperation Mechanism (LMCM) in 2016. In the concrete, China has implemented a mega dam construction project which is considered to be a contributor to environmental degradation. By utilizing Garret Hardin's (1968) views on the tragedy of the commons, this paper analyses the challenges, collective actions and efforts of countries in the Mekong River region in overcoming river management and the sources of the tragedy of the commons. Through several characteristics in the management of shared resources by Ostrom (1990) this paper finds that arrangements for shared resources are important to be systematically arranged by the government to prevent the tragedy of the commons. Institutions at the local level are very important to be able to develop appropriate institutional structures that are adapted to the social and economic life of the people along the Mekong River.


Mekong River; tragedy of the commons; common pool resources; collective actions

Full Text:





International Centre for Environmental Management. (2003). Regional Report on Protected Areas and Development, Queensland: Australia.

Journal Article (retrieved online, without DOI or page numbers)

Hardin, G. (1968). The Tragedy of The Commons. Science, New Series, Vol. 162, No. 3859 (Dec. 13, 1968), pp. 1243-1248, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Holling, Crawford. (2001). Understanding the Complexity of Economic, Ecological, and Social Systems. ECOSYSTEMS. 4. 390-405.10.1007/s10021-001-0101-5.

Jensen, Mari. (2000). Common Sense and Common-Pool Resources, Bioscience, American Institute of Biological Sciences, vol.50, no.8.

Ming Li, Y. (2013). The Mekong River as a Transboundary Commons: The Spaces of Territoriality and Socianatures in Chia Khong Thailand, Department of Geography: National University of Singapore.

Oktavia, P. (2018). Evolusi dan Tantangan Governance untuk Common Property Resource, Planners InSight, vol. 1, no. 1, Bandung: ITSB.

Ostrom, E. (2000). The Danger of Self-Evident Truth. Political Science and Politics, Vol. 3, no.1, US: Indiana University.

Ostrom, Elinor. 1990. Governing the Commons. The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.

Samuelson, P.A. (1954). The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure. The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 36, No. 4. (Nov., 1954), pp. 387-389, The MIT Press.

Saunders, F. (2014). The promise of common pool resource theory and the reality of commons projects, International Journals of the Commons, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 636-656, Sweden: School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Södertörns University.

In press

Mitchell, R.B. (1999) International environmental common pool resources: more common than domestic but more difficult to manage. In Barkin, J.S. and Shambaugh, G.E. (eds) Anarchy and the Environment: The International Relations of Common Pool Resources, Albany, State University of New York Press, 26-47.

Electronic source

Indra, P. (2016). Politik yang Mengalir di Sungai Mekong. Retrieved from


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 940 | views : 527


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

View My Stats


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.