This Strategic Plan sets out how for the period 2016-2020 the MRC will deliver the role established by the 1995 Mekong Agreement: to promote and coordinate sustainable development and management of the Mekong’s water and related natural resources.
Unlike the past, this MRC Strategic Plan, together with the four National Indicative Plans of MRC Member Countries, represents a collective MRC response to address the strategic priorities and actions set forth in the updated IWRM-based Mekong Basin Development Strategy (BDS), and the institutional recommendations in the Roadmap for Decentralisation.
The Plan is a product of extensive consultations that began two years ago with the updating of the BDS and has involved multiple stakeholders within our Member Countries from government agencies, research institutes, river basin organisations, private sector, non-governmental organisations as well as Dialogue and Development Partners.
The Basin Development Strategy for 2016- 2020 (henceforth BDS 2016-2020) replaces the 2011-2015 Strategy. This updating reflects the dynamic challenges encountered in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB).
The Mekong, one of the world’s greatest rivers, is an exceptionally complex system with high intra-annual and inter-annual flow variability caused by the Southwest Monsoon, bringing both great risks and opportunities. It is also a rapidly changing river because of its contribution to the rapid economic development of the basin countries, but also as a consequence of this development on the river itself, including the impacts of increasing population, urbanisation and industrialisation.
The rapid development in the Mekong River region is increasingly putting pressure on the Mekong Basin’s water and related resources. In line with the 1995 Mekong Agreement the Member Countries strive to cooperate in the sustainable development of the basin’s resources in order to achieve the Basin Vision of an economically prosperous, socially just and environmentally sound Mekong River Basin.
The current knowledge of how different water uses will impact the river basin still has many gaps and the predictions made using models and other tools do, in many subjects, still have a large uncertainty.
The Council Study which was a direct result of Member Countries’ Prime Ministers verbal agreement to conduct a study on sustainable management and development of the Mekong river including impacts by mainstream hydropower projects, was therefore conceived primarily to close the most important knowledge gaps and improve the certainty of predictions of impact from major developments in the Mekong River Basin. The results of the Council Study are expected to also enhance the Basin Development Planning process and promote capacity building and technology transfer to Member Countries.
To be situated in one of the braided channels in the Mekong River’s Siphandone area of Southern Lao PDR, the Don Sahong Hydropower Project is a run-off-the-river dam that will produce 260 megawatts of electricity.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) is carrying out prior consultation for the Don Sahong Hydropower project to discuss and evaluate benefits and associated risks of the project which may have significant impacts on the environment and people in the Lower Mekong Basin.
The prior consultation process under Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) is a requirement of the 1995 Mekong Agreement for countries to jointly review any development project proposed for the mainstream with an aim to reach a consensus on whether or not it should proceed, and if so, under what conditions.
Mainstream hydropower projects can bring significant benefits in terms of renewable energy and budget revenues, but can also cause environmental and social impacts on the local and transboundary scale. In combination with other hydropower schemes, those impacts can have a cumulative character.
The aim of this report is to present the main contributions from the participants of the Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) international conference entitled: Cooperation for Water, Energy and Food Security in Transboundary Basins under Changing Climate, held in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam from 2–3 April, 2014.