Belgium provides US$1.2 million support to MRC Navigation Programme

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 5th Oct 2005

The Mekong River Commission today formalised an agreement with the Government of Belgium for the provision of a one million Euros (US$1.2 million) contribution for implementation of the MRC Navigation Programme (NAP). This is the first step in a substantial commitment by the Belgian Government of 5 million Euros (US$6 million) over five years.

The agreement was formalised by Mr Alfred Fickers, Attaché Development Coordination, the Embassy of Belgium in Hanoi, and Dr Olivier Cogels, Chief Executive Officer MRC, on Wednesday 5 October at the MRC Secretariat in Vientiane.

The funding, which is for one year, is through the Belgian Government’s Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs Directorate-General for Development Cooperation

The MRC Navigation Programme aims to balance the demand for expanded use of the river with environmental needs. Its goal is to promote freedom of navigation on the Mekong, and to increase social development and international trade opportunities using the navigation potential of the river system.

The new programme is now in the first stages of implementing its five components:

  • Socio-economic Analysis and Regional Waterborne Transport Planning
  • Legal Framework for Cross Border Navigation
  • Traffic Safety and Environmental Sustainability
  • Information, Promotion and Coordination
  • Institutional Development.

The Navigation Programme is currently involved in the start up of the Design of the Master Plan for Waterborne Transport on the Mekong River System in Cambodia, which is funded under bilateral cooperation by Belgium.

Dr Cogels said that the Mekong River Commission was very grateful to the Government of Belgium for its generous support of the Navigation Programme and pointed out that this was an important programme which would be of enormous benefit to the millions of people living in the Mekong River Basin.

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