Vientiane, Lao PDR, 1st Nov 2017
On 16 to 19 October, representatives from the Mekong River Commission (MRC) made its first visit to Morocco to exchange experience on water resources management. This is the first visit, supported and hosted by Morocco, under a Memorandum of Understanding between the MRC and the Kingdom of Morocco signed on 29 June 2017 at the MRC Secretariat in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
The four-day visit sought to foster exchange and cooperation between the two parties on common interests ranging from energy to irrigated agriculture and food security to environment. The visit was also an opportunity for both sides to explore and develop an action plan to implement the MoU, namely in irrigation, alternative energy, river basin management, and fisheries assessment.
On behalf of the delegation to Morocco, Mr Phonepaseuth Phouliphanh, Deputy Secretary General of the Lao National Mekong Committee, Alternate Member of the MRC Joint Committee for Lao PDR, Representative of the MRC Joint Committee Chairperson extended his appreciation to the Kingdom of Morocco for supporting and hosting this visit.
“MRC appreciates that Morocco is its first African and Arab partner and wishes to cooperate with Morocco on beneficial activities” said Mr Phouliphanh.
The MRC delegates made visits to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Water, the Ministry of Interior and its National Initiative for Human Development, the Ministry of Agricultural, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forest and the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN).
The delegates travelled to different sites and projects including the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah Dam; a water treatment plant; and the agriculture and irrigation training program at the High Institute for Applied Technology.
HE Mr So Sophort, Deputy Secretary General, Cambodia National Mekong Committee, Alternate member of the MRC Joint Committee for Cambodia shared his take-aways and what could be applicable to the Mekong context:
“Based on the historic records, some part or the entire Mekong Basin might face more serious drought in the future. This would affect the agricultural potential due to the lack of sufficient water for irrigation. One of the key priorities for the Mekong Basin would be water use efficiency for irrigation. We [the MRC] could further investigate the drip irrigation system that is currently practiced in Morocco. The drip system is known for its effectiveness and efficiency, and could potentially be applied and address the emerging circumstance in the Mekong Basin.
This first visit successfully concluded, where delegates brought back home concrete ideas as a basis for the Action Plan under the partnership between the MRC and the Kingdom of Morocco.
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