MRC Council concludes a future direction for the organisation

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Phnom Penh, 13th Jan 2016

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 13 January 2016 – Ministerial delegates from the Mekong River Commission Council (the MRC Council) today approved a Strategic Plan 2016-2020 and set out a new direction and structure for the MRC Secretariat.

The MRC Council is the highest, ministerial level of the organisation, composed of water resources and environment ministers from the four Member Countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.

During the annual gathering, the Council approved the next five-year Basin Development Strategy and Strategic Plan, including the Annual Work Plan for 2016, of the MRC to allow the organisation to focus its work on the core river basin management functions. These core functions include the enhancement of national plans, projects and resources based on basin-wide perspectives; strengthening regional cooperation; better monitoring and communication of Mekong basin conditions; and leaner river basin organisation. An annual 10 per cent increase of the financial contributions from the Member Countries was also committed to pave the road for the MRC to be fully self-financed by 2030. This is a commitment that was reaffirmed at the Second MRC Summit in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, on 5 April 2014 by the Heads of the Governments of the four Member Countries.

This five-year plan requires US$ 65 million to implement, of which approximately US$ 15 million will come from the contributions of the Member Countries, and roughly US$ 9 million is from the on-going fund. The remaining amount will require external support from the donor community.

Along with the new strategic plan, the meeting also discussed a reform structure of the MRC Secretariat that will see an increase of the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation. The Council landed an agreement on having a leaner structure, changing from programme-based, to core river basin-based function structure. The newly approved structure, which will be implemented in July this year, comprises four Divisions, including the Administration Division, Environmental Management Division, Planning Division, and Technical Support Division.

The Council Meeting discussed other administrative and financial matters of the organisation as well. The two-day meeting will end tomorrow.

Note to editors:

The MRC is the intergovernmental body responsible for cooperation on the sustainable management of the Mekong Basin whose members include Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. It is established to promote cooperation among the Member Countries and thus it is not a supra-national or regulatory body. The commission looks across all sectors including sustaining fisheries, identifying opportunities for agriculture, maintaining the freedom of navigation, flood management and preserving important ecosystems. Superimposed on these are the future effects of more extreme floods, prolonged drought and sea level rise associated with climate change.

The Second Summit of the Mekong River Commission was organised on 5 April 2014 in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, in which Heads of the Governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam and delegations from China and Myanmar, along with other regional leaders, water experts and diplomats, met to discuss and address the most pressing issues on the Mekong River and its resources and set strategic directions and policy for the MRC. The Summit is organised every four years and the First Summit was held on 5 April 2010 in Hua Hin, Thailand. 

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For more information, please contact:
Mr Sopheak Meas,
Communications Officer, Office of the Secretariat in Phnom Penh,
E-mail: sopheak@mrcmekong.org
Phone: +855-23-425353 extension 1061, or +855-12-266653.

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