Donors increase support for Mekong River Commission

Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam , 14th Dec 2006

The international donor community had shown its approval of the work of the Mekong River Commission by increasing aid to support two new programmes, delegates at a meeting held in Ho Chi Minh City heard today.

The delegates from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam (the MRC’s Member States), together with representatives of the international donor community, partner organisations and development banks heard that the MRC would start the implementation of the second phase of the Basin Development Plan early 2007. This will be funded by a 45 million Danish Kroner (around US$7.72 million) grant from the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark, through Danida, and will extend to 2010. The Danish Government will also provide 7.5 million Danish Kroner (approx. US$1.28 million) for the MRC’s Environment Programme.

The Belgian Government has made a commitment for substantial support to the newly formulated Drought Management Programme and a Hydropower Programme in 2007.

H.E. Dr. Cao Duc Phat, MRC Council Chairman for 2006-2007, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Chairman of Viet Nam National Mekong Committee, said the MRC was sincerely grateful for the generosity of the donor community. “This continued and, in many cases, increased support is a verification that MRC is going in the right direction to help achieve its sustainable development objectives within the Mekong River Basin”, he said.

He added that this meeting was a first step in incorporating MRC’s partners in the development banking areas into fuller participation. Representatives from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank spoke as participants, rather than observers for the first time at a Council meeting.

“We recognise the effort made by the MRC Secretariat in getting the banks on board for our joint activities in the ADB and World Bank’s Mekong Water Resources Partnership and the ADB’s Greater Mekong Subregion Programme and we are delighted to take our relationship to a new phase of cooperation. Strengthening our relationship will only support further consolidation of our joint efforts to alleviate poverty in the basin,” Dr Cao Duc Phat said.

The CEO of the MRCS Dr Olivier Cogels said the MRC’s financial status was very sound and that gradually increasing contributions from the Member States had taken it well along the path to increased riparianisation, and country ownership.

“We have a very clear vision of our goals and priorities and the strong consensus reached this year between donors and countries on our Strategic Plan 2006-2010 will allow us to consolidate our leadership for addressing the key development challenges in the Mekong River Basin,” Dr Cogels said.

-ends-

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