Mekong river Current Affairs - 2020

Lebanon: First Arab Country to legalize Marijuana cultivation

On April 23, 2020, Lebanon became the first Arab country to legalize marijuana cultivation. This has been done by the Lebanese Parliament in order to boost the export of marijuana.


The cannabis plant has been farmed illegally in Lebanon in the fertile Bekaa Valley. Today the country has legalized marijuana cultivation for industrial and medical purposes to cope with the economic crisis that is being faced by the country.

According to the United Nations, Lebanon is the third largest supplier of cannabis resin in the world after Morocco and Afghanistan.

Apart from Lebanon here are two other regions in the world, where the cannabis plant is used in opium production. They are Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent.

Golden Crescent

The Golden Crescent includes three countries namely Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Together they form a crescent in the map and hence the name Crescent.

Afghanistan was the largest opium producer in 1990s and in twenty years still stays as one of the largest producers of Opium

Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle includes Thailand, Myanmar and Laos where the regions meet at the confluence of Ruak and Mekong river and hence forming a golden triangle.

NASA’s SERVIR-Mekong project to help monitor environment in Southeast Asia

NASA and US Agency for International Development (USAID) have started the SERVIR-Mekong project, to strengthen the environmental monitoring in Southeast Asia region.

It has been launched in the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Bangkok, Thailand to serve the 5 countries of the Mekong River Basin viz. Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Key facts

  • The focus of this project is to host vital issues in the Mekong river basin region in the five countries which is often called as rice bowl of Asia.
  • It will enable these countries better address issues of natural resource and disaster management and support climate resilience studies including reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • The project will help these Governments incorporate Earth observations and geospatial technologies in improving management of water and natural resources.
  • Provide early warning of dramatic changes in regional water, weather, land cover and land use and climate and food security.

About SERVIR project

It was initiated in 2005 by researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre in Alabama. It name SERVIR is has been derived from Spanish which means to serve.

It has been developed by an alliance of more than 90 nations and organisations which are collaborating to build a global Earth-observing system to benefit society’s needs.