Vientiane, Lao PDR, 10th Apr 2007
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) was ready to play a bigger role in the economic development of the Mekong River Basin, MRC Secretariat Chief Executive officer, Dr Olivier Cogels told guests at the celebration of Mekong Day held at the MRC Secretariat on 10th April 2007.
He said the MRC had spent many years consolidating its knowledge and engaging in research and planning for development – now it was time to turn this into concrete outputs.
“It is time for action, time for implementation and time for investment if we are to achieve our poverty alleviation goals in the basin,” he said. “We already have the cooperation framework in which we can operate to identify development and investment opportunities relating to water, to flood, to drought and to energy. After 12 years of excellent work done by the MRC staff and the National Mekong Committees in knowledge management, regional cooperation and monitoring systems it is time to use this knowledge to improve the lives of the poorest people in the basin.”
His Excellency Mr Khamlouat Sidlakone, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Chairman of the Lao National Mekong Committee (LNMC) and Member of the MRC Council for the Lao PDR explained that Mekong Day or April 5th was the day when the MRC celebrated and commemorated the signing of the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin (on 5th April 1995) which formed the Mekong River Commission.
He praised the cooperative “Mekong Spirit” shown by the four member countries and said that this was the way that development within the basin could be achieved in a sustainable and peaceful way. “It is our job to see that we make the best use of its water and related resources to ensure the growing population will have a bright future,” he said. “This is why we need to work together and cooperate closely and strengthen our partnership with development banks and other regional development initiatives to promote the Mekong Programme.”
Guests included representatives from the Lao government, embassies, donor agencies, partners and development banks as well as MRC staff all joined in a toast to Mekong Day.
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