CEO finishes term at Mekong River Commission Secretariat

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 9th Aug 2007

Dr Olivier Cogels has completed his three-year term as Chief Executive Officer of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat. He will now continue to support water management and cooperation in the Southeast Asian region as an international consultant.

Dr Cogels said he appreciated the acknowledgment by the MRC Member States that the MRC has achieved substantial progress in the past three years and stated that his term at the MRCS had been an extremely rewarding experience.

He said the MRC was also in a very sound financial position. Over the past three years funding had increased, donor confidence had risen and the MRC had expanded its relationships with the development banks.

“During my mandate I feel we have successfully steered the MRC toward a common goal – that of an international river basin organisation which concentrates on developing its water resources for the economic benefit of the people and their countries,” he said. “As a direct consequence of this new orientation the MRC should be able to become a more powerful player in the region. In particular this approach has brought a major change in our relationship with China, which is now prepared to engage in more concrete joint cooperation with MRC.

“I feel I am leaving a stronger MRC than when I arrived. Over the past three years at the Secretariat we developed a more coordinated programme structure, we have formulated an ambitious and exciting Strategic Plan which will provide the path for the MRC’s future work and we have introduced the concept of the Mekong Programme to the region – a development programme owned by the member countries – which will bring about more involvement of the MRC with other regional initiatives.”

Dr Cogels joined the MRCS on 9 August 2004 from the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome, Italy where he was Programme Director of the International Program on Technology and Research in Irrigation and Drainage.

He will continue his career as a senior international consultant advising and supporting governments and international organisations in the field of water resources management and international cooperation.

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