Hanoi, Viet Nam, 18th Mar 2016 - 18th Mar 2016
Hanoi, Viet Nam, 18 March 2016 – Chief Executive Officer of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat met with several Hanoi-based European Embassies on Friday to discuss further cooperation as part of his development cooperation strategy.
Taking advantage of his mission to attend the 43rd Meeting of the MRC Joint Committee in Can Tho, CEO Pham Tuan Phan met seven European Embassies, including the Embassies of Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Bulgari, Rumania and Austria, the first three of which have been longstanding MRC Development Partners for the past 20 years.
In his meeting with Finnish Deputy Head of Mission, Ms Annina Barbosa, and Head of Development Cooperation, Mr Marko Saarinen, the CEO provided the two representatives with some update on important outcomes of the JC Meeting as well as on progress of the MRCS reform, which has taken place slowly but steadily. The Finnish counterpart expressed their positive view on the future of the MRC, saying that the organisation is moving in the right direction with the newly approved structure and the taking-up of office of the first riparian CEO. Finland has been one of the major donors to the MRC and has contributed approximately US$35 million over the last two decades.
Mr Pham also met with Dutch Ambassador Ms Nienke Trooster to follow up on the MRC-Netherland Cooperation Plan for the Strategic Cycle 2016-2020. During the meeting, the Ambassador reiterated her country’s interest to continue and move forwards the technical and financial support to the MRC for the period 2016-2020 and the following years. Netherlands has been one of the active donors in assisting the MRC with its flood management and mitigation activities over the last 20 years. For the current Strategic Cycle 2016-2020, the focus of the cooperation will not be limited to flood management, but to a wider area of water resources related management.
Later that day CEO Pham went to meet with Belgian Ambassador Mrs Jehanne Roccas, who emphasised Belgium’s interest in the Mekong’s work of navigation and regional cooperation. Mrs Roccas added that with a new policy of Belgian Government, Belgium will strive to continue maintaining its support to the MRC during this new Strategic Cycle and promoting technical cooperation through network of Belgian experts in this field. Belgium’s support to MRC for the last 10 years has been mainly on navigation related activities.
Mr Pham ended his day meeting with member countries of the Danube River Commission to discuss and exchange possible opportunity for a technical framework on Mekong – Danube Cooperation where water diplomacy became a primary topic. The meeting was informed about an upcoming Water Summit 2016 that will be held in November this year in Hungary where the Mekong – Danube Cooperation will be considered and tabled for discussion. The meeting also discussed a possibility to institutionalise a cooperation between the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) and the MRC. The Mekong and Danube have collaborated for the last 5 years with exchange of visits and experience sharing on a wide range of issues, including climate change related aspects.
The MRC Development Partners with whom Mr Pham met were pleased to see the progress of the reform process whereby the riparian countries start taking their ownership of the MRC’s work. The DPs stand ready to support the MRC in its work to make a difference for the benefits of the Mekong River Basin’s people, especially of the poor and vulnerable.