Basin Development Strategy and MRC Strategic Plan 2016-2020 set the stage for new sustainable development

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Vientiane, Lao PDR, 5th Apr 2016

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 5 April 2016 – As the Mekong River Commission commemorates the signing of the 1995 Mekong Agreement on this day 21 years ago, the MRC today launched the publications of a critical basin-wide strategy and a strategic plan for the sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin and the furtherance of MRC’s mission.

The Integrated Water Resources Management-based Basin Development Strategy 2016-2020 for the Lower Mekong Basin and the MRC Strategic Plan 2016-2020 set out how the organisation will work toward the sustainable management and development of the Mekong River and its water and related resources over the next five years. Approved by the MRC Council of ministers, the strategy and plan are a result of extensive stakeholder consultations, including a basin development plan forum in November 2014. 

Replacing the Basin Development Strategy for 2011-2015, this updated Strategy reflects the dynamic challenges encountered in the Lower Mekong Basin and takes a long-term view to deal with water security challenges, including flood, drought, climate change, hydropower, irrigation, fisheries, and industrial development. Specifically, the Strategy will address a number of basin-wide priorities, including among others, increasing cooperation with partners and stakeholders; reducing remaining knowledge gaps to minimise risks; optimising basin-wide sustainable development and cost and benefit sharing; strengthening the protection of mutually agreed environmental assets; strengthening basin-wide procedures and national implementation capacity, etc.

The strategic priorities and defined actions for 2016-2020 will be addressed by the MRC through its Strategic Plan at the regional level and by the Member Countries through their National Indicative Plans at the national level, all for the same period.

The Strategic Plan has been developed based on the updated Basin Development Strategy, taking into account the existing body of knowledge and cooperation and the deepening of the bridge between scientific knowledge and solutions to transboundary water management issues and decision-making. Apart from its traditional technical works, the new Strategic Plan places a strong focus on stakeholder engagement, partnership enhancement with regional initiatives and international organisations, and organisatioinal reform agenda implementation.

The Plan lays out how the MRC will deliver the role established by the 1995 Mekong Agreement and makes ways for the organisation to focus its work on four key result areas, including: (i) enhancement of national plans, projects and resources based on basin-wide perspectives; (ii) strengthening regional cooperation; (iii) better monitoring and communication of the Basin conditions; and (iv) a leaner River Basin Organisation.

MRC’s key governance bodies, the MRC Council and Joint Committee, will lead the implementation of this Plan, by providing and guiding the strategic direction of MRC’s work over the period. The MRC Secretariat is responsible for administrative, advisory and technical aspects of the Plan implementation.

The publications are available for download here: Strategic Plan & Basin Development Strategy.


Note to editors:


The MRC is an intergovernmental organisation for regional dialogue and cooperation in the Lower Mekong River Basin, established in 1995 based on the Mekong Agreement among Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. The Organisation serves as a regional platform for water diplomacy as well as a knowledge hub of water resources management for the sustainable development of the region.




For more information, please contact:

Mr Sopheak Meas

Communications Officer

Office of the Secretariat in Phnom Penh


Telephone: +855-23-425353 extension 1062

Mobile: +855-12-266653.


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