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Findings from the Council Study reported to high level officials from Cambodia

05 Mar 2018

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 5 March 2018 – A team of specialists from the Mekong River Commission Secretariat reported key findings from the MRC’s flagship study to more than 60 representatives from Cambodia National Mekong Committee and its line ministries and agencies at a national high-level briefing and dissemination meeting held in Phnom Penh late last week.

Findings from the Council Study, or the Study on Sustainable Management and Development of the Mekong River, that were presented at the meeting on February 28 predict that water infrastructure development, such as hydropower projects, may likely contribute to almost half of the combined sector growth in the Mekong River basin over the next 20 years. But these projects also pose adverse impacts to the river’s ecosystems, putting its sustainability at risk.

The study shows that reduction in sediment and nutrient transport downstream caused by hydropower projects in the Mekong basin including China is expected to reduce soil fertility, rice production and fish yields. This will make the Cambodia floodplains and the Tonle Sap system and the Mekong delta in Viet Nam most vulnerable.

“We welcome the study’s findings. We believe that the problems presented in the study would be best addressed through close collaboration among all the member countries in a manner that puts the basin’s people in the front line,” Mr. Bun Hean, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology and Permanent Vice Chairperson of Cambodia National Mekong Committee, said in the meeting.

Cambodian officials and MRCS team participate in the meeting chaired by Secretary of State of MoWRAM and Permanent Vice Chairperson of CNMC Mr. Bun Hean

Cambodian officials and MRCS team participate in the meeting chaired by Secretary of State of MoWRAM and Permanent Vice Chairperson of CNMC, Mr. Bun Hean


Commissioned in late 2011 by the four Mekong Prime Ministers and completed in December 2017, this study used US$ 4.7 million of budget from the MRC Member Countries and Development Partners. The 15-page key finding report, together with the assessment reports of more than 3,600 pages, was the result of this massive study that assessed both positive and negative impacts of different water development scenarios on the lower Mekong basin. It aims to provide an objective scientific assessment of the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of existing and planned water resource developments in the lower Mekong basin to inform decision makers.

Results from the study will be integrated into the MRC knowledge base to enhance the basin development planning process, including the update of the MRC sustainable hydropower strategy this year.

“We believe it’s also necessary to have a coordinated policy action in each Member Country to jointly mitigate possible negative transboundary impacts from water development projects and to find a benefit sharing mechanism that’s acceptable to all,” Mr. Bun Hean said.

The last week’s meeting is part of the MRC’s initiative to brief and disseminate key findings from the study to its Member Countries and development partners for informed decision-making.

In Lao PDR, MRC Secretariat staff conducted two high-level meetings of this kind in late January this year for the Lao National Mekong Committee and line ministries and agencies. A similar briefing was also delivered to the Embassy of Viet Nam in Vientiane on February 6 and to MRC’s development partners through video conference in Phnom Penh on February 27. The national briefings for the Viet Nam National Mekong Committee and Thai National Mekong Committee are slated for March this year.

Interested members of the public can now access the study findings and its related reports through this link: http://www.mrcmekong.org/assets/Publications/the-CS-reports-cover.pdf.

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