Ministers discuss Mekong Basin planning

Siem Reap, Cambodia, 16th Nov 2007

Senior Government Ministers representing the four Mekong River Commission (MRC) Member States today met in Siem Reap, Cambodia for the 14th meeting of the MRC Council.

The meeting was officially opened by H.E. General Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Minister of National Defence.

H.E. Mr Lim Kean Hor, MRC Council Chairman for 2007-2008, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, chairman of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee and Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia told the meeting that support from the development partners had been strong and consistent over the past year.

In 2007 the MRC had signed agreements worth US$20.1 million to fund its programme work and this had enabled the MRC to develop a programme proposal for a new hydropower programme, to fully develop the Information and Knowledge Management Programme (IKMP), to build capacity in the MRCS and NMCs and to continue work in basin planning, fisheries and the environment.

In 2007 the MRC was also able to start phase two of its important Basin Development Plan Programme (BDP2). BDP2 and the IKMP, embody the central business of the MRC – development planning and knowledge.

Phase 2 of the BDP will see the preparation of a rolling Integrated Water Resources Management-based Basin Development Plan, a portfolio of programmes and projects identified and shortlisted under the BDP Planning Cycle, better assessment tools and an improved knowledge base and enhanced capacity for planning and mediation.

In 2008 the MRC will also commence the second phase of its Junior Riparian Professional capacity building scheme which will help promote integrated water resources management abilities among young professionals and academics in the basin.

H.E. Mr Lim Kean Hor added that the MRC had also further consolidated its relationship with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and was working closely with them in their regional initiatives.

The meeting heard progress reports from all the MRC programmes which cover work in environment, basin planning, knowledge management, capacity building, water utilisation, flood management and mitigation, irrigation, watershed management, navigation and fisheries. Other business included the progress on the organisational structure of the MRC Secretariat, discussion on the permanent location of the Secretariat, progress on the 2006-2010 Strategic Plan and MRC’s operating budget for 2008.

The meeting also discussed the input from its development partners following the annual Donor Consultative Group (DCG) meeting held on 15 November at the same venue.

The DCG discussed MRC programme work, the implementation of the MRC Strategic Plan 2006-2010 and the progress of an independent organisational review of the MRC Secretariat and the National Mekong Committees, which was completed earlier this year. Talks were also held on strategic partnerships with development banks and donor harmonisation.

The development partners expressed their continued support for the work of the MRC and for increased cooperation between themselves.

The Council is made up of members at Ministerial or Vice-Ministerial level from the MRC’s four Member States of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam and is the principal decision making body of the MRC.

-ends-

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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