Strategy approval sets agenda for Mekong River Commission’s future work in Basin

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 29th Aug 2006

Considering and endorsing the final draft of the Mekong River Commission’s Strategic Plan 2006-2010 would set the path for the MRC’s work for the next five years H. E. Mr Sin Niny, Vice Chairman of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee and Chairman of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Joint Committee for 2006/2007 told participants in the 24th meeting of the MRC Joint Committee in Vientiane today.

Mr Sin Niny, who was welcoming representatives of the four Mekong River Commission member countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam), MRC Dialogue Partners, donors and partners to the meeting, explained that this Strategic Plan had been formulated with input from Member States, donors and stakeholders and reflected these joint views.

He explained that the meeting would be discussing the MRC’s achievements over the past year and planning work for the next six months. There would be a number of important decisions to be made on basin planning as well as discussions on the future directions of the Water Utilisation Programme (WUP). The WUP is now concluding its six-year programme during which member countries had agreed on many shared procedures and guidelines concerning data exchange, notification and water monitoring which reflected the spirit of the 1995 Agreement. In June this year WUP achieved a milestone with the signing of the Procedures for the Maintenance of Flows on the Mainstream.

Mr Chanthavong Saignasith Member of the MRC Joint Committee for Lao PDR spoke on behalf of the Chairman of the MRC Joint Committee for 2005/2006 and told the group that during the past year, the Mekong River Commission had moved toward a more integrated approach in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals and achieved key milestones. He said two of the MRC programmes, the Navigation Programme and the Flood Management and Mitigation Programme, had successfully gone through preparatory phases and had gradually started up full implementation in 2006.

One of the most important activities in the current meeting would be the endorsement of the final draft of the MRC Strategic Plan 2006-2010, according to Dr Olivier Cogels Chief Executive Officer of the MRC Secretariat. Dr Cogels said the plan had undergone extensive consultations with member countries, donors and stakeholders and MRC was now ready to move into action to undertake the work programme underlined in this strategy.

“We now have a very good consensus to support our work over the next five years. Now we have to get to work on implementing our integrated programme in order to bring benefits the people of the Mekong Basin,” Dr Cogels said. “This important strategy both supports the Mekong Programme and forms the structural basis for very efficient integrated development of the basin and its water and related resources in order to fulfil the activities outlined in the 1995 Mekong Agreement.”

Representatives from MRC Dialogue Partner country Myanmar, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), World Conservation Union (IUCN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) attended the meeting.

The MRC Joint Committee consists of one member from each country at no less than Head of Department level. It is responsible for the implementation of the policies and decisions of the MRC Council and supervises the activities of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat.

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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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