Vientiane, Lao PDR, 08 Oct 2019
Rabat, Morocco, 8 October 2019 — The Mekong River Commission and the Moroccan government last week brought their cooperation in renewable energy and eco-tourism to a new level as they sought to strengthen the existing partnership.
This came as MRC Secretariat Chief Executive Officer Dr. An Pich Hatda and Moroccan Secretary of State at the Foreign Affairs Ministry Excellency Mounia Boucetta met in Morocco’s capital city Rabat on October 4 to discuss how the two should concretize their water resource management cooperation.
“The meeting was an opportunity for us to identify ways to both strengthen our existing cooperation of common interest and translate it into a more concrete term,” Dr. Hatda said.
Morocco is the first African and Arab country to join the MRC as a partner through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) they signed in June 2017.
The MOU stipulated nine potential areas of collaboration; they include solar energy, integrated water resources management, drought management, human development, green energy, water demand and utilization, agriculture and food security, fish passage, and water quality.
Following the meeting, both parties agreed that as an initial first step, a training on drip irrigation for irrigation practitioners from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam be jointly organized early next year in Morocco. The training will allow the Mekong trainees to benefit from the Moroccan experience in this field.
In addition, the Secretary of State said her government would be keen to back the MRC in conducting a strategic assessment of possible alternative energy including solar and wind in the Mekong basin, and to support the MRC’s initiative in promoting the MRC Headquarters in Vientiane as a Mekong educational visitor center.
“Morocco would be pleased to provide our expertise and necessary support to the MRC in assessing alternative renewable energy in the Mekong basin and looking into an opportunity to founding a Mekong educational visitor center to promote Mekong conservation and sustainable development,” Excellency Mounia said.
She added the partnership was in line with his Majesty the King of Morocco’s commitment to “strengthen and diversify South-South, win-win cooperation” in support of the ASEAN integration.
Dr. Hatda and Excellency Mounia said the MRC and Morocco would discuss the plans in detail over the coming months.
The MRC Secretariat has initiated to promote and raise awareness on Mekong conservation and eco-tourism within the Mekong basin. The initiative will see its Headquarters in Vientiane feature a regional educational visitor center where sculptures and images of Mekong fish and aquatic species and other important eco-systems will be displayed to the public. Boat cruises along the Mekong river to witness the status, conditions, challenges and opportunities from the upper to the lower reaches of the basin would also be part of the initiative.
“It will take some time before we could truly realize this plan. Our aim is to promote and raise awareness among the Mekong citizens, especially youth and children, and those traveling to the region, about the importance and rich biodiversity of the Mekong River,” Dr. Hatda said.
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