Danish Government gives $3.3 million support to Mekong River Commission Fisheries Programme

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 7th Nov 2009

The Danish Government today signed an 18 million Danish Kroner (US$ 3.3 million ) funding agreement over a two-year period to support the work of the Fisheries Programme of the Mekong River Commission.

The agreement was signed in Vientiane, Lao PDR by H.E. Mr. Peter Lysholt Hansen, Ambassador of Denmark to Vietnam and Lao PDR, on behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark and Mr. Jeremy Bird, Chief Executive Officer of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat.

Denmark has been supporting the MRC in its main areas of work for many years, focusing in particular on the Environment Programme, the Basin Development Plan, the Fisheries Programme, the Flood Management and Mitigation Programme and on the implementation of the recommendations of the Organisational Review of the MRC Secretariat and National Mekong Committee. This new support the MRC Fisheries Programme, Phase II for 2009-2010, follows on from a previous grant of 30 million DKK (US$ 5.5 million) to the Fisheries Programme in 2005-2008.

The funding to the MRC is particularly in line with Denmark’s policy to encourage promotion of environmentally sustainable and productive use of natural resources and will directly contribute to sustainable development by ensuring that the MRC, riparian organisations and users implement sustainable fisheries management and development at local, national and regional levels.

Mr Bird thanked the Danish Government for its continued and generous support of the MRC’s work and said the new funding would be of great assistance in helping the MRC achieve the goals set out in its 2006-2010 Strategic Plan.

"We have set ourselves an ambitious five-year plan, with the overall goal of promoting sustainable development within the basin to alleviate poverty," he said. "From the perspectives of nutrition, employment, and economic well-being of the rural fishers, management of the productive Mekong fisheries so as to sustain their high yield and economic output is well justified as an integral part of the development of the Lower Mekong Basin."

Ambassador Hansen noted that Denmark was pleased to be able to continue supporting the important work of the MRC in promoting a well coordinated and sustainable development and management of fisheries in the Mekong Basin.

"At a time when fisheries in the Mekong is increasingly under pressure from impacts of water management projects for irrigation, hydro power and water supply, the work of the MRC in this field becomes ever more important”, he said. “Our new grant will enable the MRC to fast-track work on assessing such impacts and ensure that decision-makers in the Basin are aware of the consequences to fisheries of such planned projects."

Within the Fisheries Programme the support will be used to implement extensive field programmes in conjunction with national fisheries agencies in order to generate information for both MRCS and the line agencies. It will also include capacity development, formal and informal training, career support and gender awareness, which are the inherent elements of the programme.

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