Vientiane, Lao PDR, 22 Dec 2010
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg granted USD 2.6 million to the Mekong River Commission (MRC)’s Climate Change Adaptation Initiative to assist Mekong countries with climate change adaptation planning at a basin-wide level today. The grant is the first time Luxembourg has provided support to the MRC and represents a milestone in climate change adaptation planning for the Mekong region.
“Luxembourg’s support to the Climate Change Adaptation Initiative provides an impetus to prioritising the generation of science-based knowledge on the potential impacts of climate change as a basis for taking actions on adaptation. This grant will also promote wider stakeholder participation and will encourage capacity building and training activities on climate change adaptation to be conducted throughout the Mekong Basin,” said Mr Jeremy Bird, CEO of the Mekong River Commission.
The primary objective of the Luxembourg Development Cooperation is the eradication of poverty, notably in least developed countries, where its actions and interventions are linked with social, economic and environmental aspects in the context of sustainable development. Luxembourg’s Development Cooperation is seen as part of the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
“This new partnership with the MRC reflects Luxembourg’s strong commitment to give increased attention to climate change which affects a wide range of development sectors. It consolidates Luxembourg’s ongoing bilateral development cooperation support to MRC member countries, such as Laos and Vietnam, two of Luxembourg’s priority partner countries for development cooperation, particularly prone to climate change related disasters,” said Mr Marc Ungeheuer, Luxembourg’s Ambassador to Lao PDR.
Luxembourg’s grant will support the development of Mekong strategies and plans for climate change adaptation at various levels, which will be regularly updated and integrated into the MRC’s Basin Development Plan. The grant will also contribute to communicating climate change messages with Mekong people and different stakeholders. Through these activities the Climate Change Adaptation Initiative aims to improve Member Countries’ capacity in climate change monitoring and reporting.
“Climate change is anticipated to add up with other threats to the Lower Mekong Basin and affect several sectors such as agriculture, water and water related resources and food security. Luxembourg’s commitment to this issue will help improve our understanding on how and to what extent climate change may affect our everyday lives in the Lower Mekong Basin,” said Dr Vithet Srinetr, MRC’s Environment Programme Coordinator.
The MRC reports that although climate change impacts all strata of Mekong countries’ society, there is currently a general lack of solid understanding on what role individuals play in reducing the risks of climate change.
Luxembourg’s grant will also support the development of policy frameworks to guide MRC Member Countries on how to prepare for the possible impacts of climate change and a system for monitoring and reporting on the status of climate change adaptation implemented through the Mekong Panel of Climate Change. Additionally, the MRC’s Climate Change Adaptation Initiative plans to strengthen regional cooperation, exchange and learning with all stakeholders – from local communities to line agencies, on the importance of understanding the potential impacts of climate change and how to adapt.
“With Luxembourg’s support, we ultimately hope to assist the most vulnerable groups such as the poor, women and children build and strengthen their capacities in order to adapt to climate risks. We will do this not only at the local level, but we will also be able to assist the Lower Mekong countries and governments on Mekong adaptation policy, strategy and planning related to national climate change adaptation,” said Dr Vithet.
Climate change is a defining human development issue for the world and presents new challenges to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. For the Mekong River Basin, climate change is projected to pose a real threat in terms of increasing temperature, more frequent and intensive flood and drought events, sea level rise and saline intrusion, which may undermine the current and future efforts of the Mekong Member Countries in sustaining economic growth, food security and poverty reduction.
In 2007, the MRC Council at its 14th meeting asked for development of a cooperative regional initiative to provide knowledge, tools and capacity building and other assistance to the Member Countries to better adapt to climate change. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has been identified as the appropriate organisation to lead in the preparation and management of the Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative (CCAI), supported through a multi-donor partnership.
The CCAI is a long term initiative running initially over some 16 years to 2025 in three five-year phases which are directly linked into the cycle of MRC’s Strategic Planning process. The ultimate target beneficiaries of the CCAI are the people of the LMB, especially the poorest and most vulnerable communities living along the river banks and floodplains of the Mekong mainstream and its tributaries.
The overall aim of the CCAI is the contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), poverty eradication and improved food security. The strong emphasis on the CCAI supporting achievements of the MDGs warranted the cross-cutting issues analysis to be based on an analysis of the linkages between climate change impacts and the MDGs and how the CCAI will address those aspects of the MDGs. The main focus of this regional initiative is the basin wide integrated approach consistent with IWRM principles and the MRC 1995 Agreement.
The goal of CCAI is “an economically prosperous, socially just and environmentally sound Mekong River Basin responsive and adapting to the challenges induced by climate change”, reflecting the overall vision of the Mekong River Commission. The focus of the CCAI is climate change vulnerability/impact assessment and adaptation planning and implementation within the Mekong River Basin.
Mr Khy Lim, Communications Officer
Tel: +856 20 5622 8131