Vientiane, Lao PDR, 10th Mar 2008
A wide range of interested groups converge in the Lao capital, Vientiane, this week to discuss planning processes for the development of the Lower Mekong Basin at a Stakeholder Forum held by the Mekong River Commission (MRC).
The forum, on 12-13 March, offers the chance for various parts of society in the four lower basin states of Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam to exchange views on what constitutes sustainable development in the Mekong River Basin, and on the multiple uses of water and related resources.
Attending the forum will be representatives of the MRC Member State governments and their development partners, as well as academics and members of civil society organisations and the public.
According to Mr Chantavong Saignasith, Member of the MRC Joint Committee and Director General of the Lao National Mekong Committee Secretariat, a participatory process and the forging of strong partnerships with the basin’s stakeholders are essential to developing the economic potential of the Mekong River system in a sustainable manner.
At the meeting, the second phase of the MRC’s Basin Development Plan will be presented in brief and participants asked for their input. Issues on the agenda include the sharing of water resources for domestic use, hydropower, navigation and fisheries, plus flow management, preservation of the riverine ecosystem, and promotion of regional cooperation. The MRC sees the Plan as a step to alleviating poverty while considering the high reliance of people, particularly the poor, on the river’s natural system.
The Basin Development Plan is being designed to take on board different views so that the MRC can help its Member States develop a shared vision to move forward and take coherent actions for the development of the basin in a transparent manner.
The Mekong River Commission is an intergovernmental organisation created in 1995 by an agreement between the governments of Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam to promote cooperation for sustainable development of the water and related resources of the Mekong River Basin.
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