Vientiane, Lao PDR, 26 Oct 2011
The Mekong River Commission and the government of Switzerland today signed a new agreement which contributes financial support towards basin development and environment project activities in the Lower Mekong Basin.
Through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Switzerland today committed a US$ 3.09 million (3.45 million Swiss Francs) fund—each half of it will go to the MRC’s Basin Development Plan Programme and Environment Programme for the implementation of activities. The funding is for a two-year period spanning from November 2011 to December 2013.
The new financial contribution sees the return of the development arm of Switzerland’s government to funding at the MRC after an absence of six years.
“This timely contribution from Switzerland will help strengthen the MRC’s effort to bring about the improved integrated-river basin management at a time that the Lower Mekong Basin is experiencing rapid development and change, ‘ said Mr. Tran Duc Cuong, Officer-In-Charge of the MRC Secretariat.
“This renewed support of Switzerland to the MRC expresses the importance of transboundary water management in the Mekong basin and our recognition of the efforts of the MRC and its member countries to provide a fully integrated, nationally owned and financed response to the challenge of sustainable and integrated water management,” said Ms. Ruth Huber, SDC Regional Director.
MRC is an inter-governmental, country-driven river basin organisation. Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam are MRC Members, with the People’s Republic of China and Myanmar contributing as Dialogue Partners. MRC’s mission is to promote and coordinate sustainable management and development of water and related resources for the countries' mutual benefit and the people's well-being. Its vision is to achieve an economically prosperous, socially just and environmentally sound Mekong River Basin.
The Basin Development (BDP) aims to better understand what development means for people living in the Lower Mekong Basin, by promoting dialogue, developing strategies and supporting negotiations. The strategy also prioritises irrigated agriculture for food security, environmental and social sustainability of hydropower development, climate change adaptation strategies and integrating basin planning into national and regulatory systems.
The MRC Environment Programme works to support cooperation among MRC Member Countries to secure a balance between economic development, environmental protection and social sustainability within the Mekong region.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is Switzerland’s international cooperation agency within the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
David W. Smith, Communication Officer
Office of the Secretariat in Vientiane
+856 020 5989 5961
Mr Surasak Glahan, Communication Officer
+856 20 555 28726 (Vientiane mobile number)