Mekong-wide approach to understanding and acting on climate change

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 2nd Nov 2009

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has today announced a new effort to address climate change in the Mekong Basin.

The Mekong Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative (CCAI) aims to develop and implement climate change adaptation strategies to deal with the consequences across the basin of an increase in the mean temperature, potentially higher rainfall and more frequent flooding in some parts of the basin, more drought in other parts, and sea level rise impacting the delta.

The launching of the Mekong CCAI is the second step in a climate change partnership between Australia and the MRC. The first step focused on estimating likely changes in temperature, rainfall and river flows based on ‘downscaling’ global predictions of climate change.

"The early support of Australia for our climate change adaptation work is very significant. It is enabling the MRC to make important progress," said Dr Pornsook Chongprasith, Director of the MRC's Environment Division. "The Australian Government has provided grants of USD 3.5 million for the design and early implementation of the Mekong CCAI. Our total budget for the CCAI through to 2015 is USD 15 million and we are seeking additional funds to ensure implementation of this work. We hope that other development partners with an interest in helping Mekong countries deal with climate change will also choose to contribute".

The Mekong CCAI is part of a broader partnership between the MRC and the Australian Government. Since 2007 Australia has pledged AUD 20 million to the MRC making it a major donor to the organization. This funding is supporting a range of activities including the development of trans-boundary water resources professionals, the regional component of a Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management IWRM Project focusing on water utilization negotiations, technical coordination, navigation, basin development planning, and establishment of an improved MRC system for monitoring and evaluating project and program performance.

"The goal of the Australian Mekong Water Resources Program is to promote regional cooperation to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development through efficient use and management of the water resources of the Mekong Region," said Richard Moore, AusAID Deputy-Director Asia Division at the Mekong CCAI signing ceremony. "We see the Mekong CCAI as a welcome new initiative that we are pleased to be supporting."

-ends-

Notes to Editors

  1. The Mekong Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative (‘the Mekong CCAI’) is an initiative of the Mekong River Commission.
  2. The Mekong CCAI Framework has been finalized and endorsed by the MRC Joint Committee and a detailed work plan has been completed for the first two phases of the Initiative: the Intermediate Phase until end of 2010 and the First Phase from 2011-2015.
  3. Australia's Mekong Water Resources Program works on the following issues:
  • Capacity building: technical and social capacity building for IWRM;
  • Environmental change: climate and other environmental change adaptation;
  • Food security: avoiding food insecurity for vulnerable and marginalized people;
  • Hydropower assessment: comprehensive assessment of options, including alternatives;
  • Transboundary engagement: more constructive water-related engagement between all six countries of the Region; and
  • Corporate social responsibility: encouraging private sector leadership and accountability

For more information

Mr Damian Kean, Interim Communication Advisor
Tel: +856 56120695 or +856 21 263 263 Ext. 4703
Email: damian@mrcmekong.org

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