Mekong River Commission sets programme for the future

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 29th Aug 2007

Knowledge and basin planning were two of the key topics of discussion at the 26th Meeting of the Mekong River Commission's Joint Committee held in Vientiane today.

Mr Nguyen Hong Toan, MRC Joint Committee Chairman for 2007/2008 told participants in the meeting that Earlier this year the Basin Development Plan commenced its second phase. The meeting was anticipating how it was progressing toward its goals. He said the MRC's new Information and Knowledge Management Programme commenced full operation early in 2007 and that this programme would be vital to progress as the exchange of knowledge was the backbone of the organisation.

Mr Toan was welcoming representatives of the four Mekong River Commission member countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam) together with observers from partner organisations to the meeting, which Discussed the MRC's achievements over the past year and planning work for the next six months.

The Outgoing Chairman of the MRC Joint Committee for 2006/2007 H.E. Mr Sin Niny, Vice Chairman of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee told the group that during the past year, the Mekong River Commission had finalised and published the MRC Strategic Plan for 2006-2010, following its final approval at the 13th meeting of the Council in December 2006.

It had also been a year when the MRC has had the benefit of a thorough review of its processes through an Independent Organisational Review into the MRC and the National Mekong Committees (NMCs) which presented findings at the 13th Council meeting. There was much to be commended in this review which concentrated on ways to both make the MRC Secretariat and the NMCs more efficient and promote its ultimate plan to be a wholly country owned, country driven and country managed organisation, which will be achieved by adhering to the MRC's Roadmap to Riparianisation. The Joint Committee had already approved many of the recommendations in this review and this meeting would be hearing a progress report on their implementation.

The Officer in Charge of the MRC Secretariat, Mr Do Manh Hung presented a report on the progress of the MRC's programme work. Later in the meeting there was discussion on the in basin development planning, navigation, flood management and mitigation, fisheries, irrigation, watershed management, information and knowledge management and environmental monitoring. It also discussed the possibilities of funding for a new drought management programme. The meeting also heard a report of the hydrological conditions in the Lower Mekong Basin.

Representatives from various MRC observer organisations also attended the meeting. The MRC Joint Committee consists of one member from each country at no less than Head of Department level. It is responsible for the implementation of the policies and decisions of the MRC Council and supervises the activities of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat.

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Mr. Damian Kean Interim Communication Advisor
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