Opening and Welcoming Address by H.E.Mr. Noulinh Sinbandhit - 19th Meeting of the MRC Council

Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, 17th Jan 2013

Session 2: Joint Meeting with the Seventeenth Donor Consultative Group
Mekong River Commission
17 January 2013,  Luang Prabang, Lao PDR

 

Welcome Address
By
His Excellency Mr. Noulinh Sinbandhit
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Chairperson of the Lao National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for the Lao PDR
Chairperson of the MRC Council for 2012/2013

Opening and Welcoming Address

By

His Excellency Mr. Noulinh Sinbandhit
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Chairperson of the Lao National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for the Lao PDR
Chairperson of the MRC Council for 2012/2013

Excellency Mr. Lim Kean Hor
Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology
Chairperson of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia

Excellency Mr. Preecha Rengsomboonsuk
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Chairperson of the Thai National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Thailand

Excellency Mr. Nguyen Minh Quang
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Chairperson of the Viet Nam National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Viet Nam

Distinguished Delegates,

Honorable Development Partners,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great honour to warmly welcome you to Session 2: Joint Meeting with the Seventeenth Donor Consultative Group.

I hope that you are enjoying the city and the warm Laos hospitality during your stay in our country’s special cultural center - Luang Prabang.

This morning at the beginning of our meeting, we look forward to hearing from our four Member Countries who will all address the session.

Then we will focus our attention on our Development Partners who share our goals and who are instrumental in helping us achieve these goals.

Following this is a report on the implementation of the Hua Hin Declaration, which was adopted at the first MRC Summit two years ago. We look forward to hearing about new developments as well as achievements the MRC has made since the last Council meeting.

In addition, I believe you recall that at the last Council meeting there was a decision to conduct further study on Sustainable Management and Development of the Mekong River including Impacts by Mainstream Hydropower Projects. Today, we will take notice of what has been done to prepare the study, which responds to the needs to close knowledge gaps, enhance MRC knowledge base and develop capacity on scientific studies in the Member Countries. Ultimately, this study will contribute to better informed decision-making and basin development planning.

Distinguished Delegates,

Honorable Development Partners,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The MRC is mandated to govern sustainable and equitable development and management of the Lower Mekong Basin within the cooperative framework of the 1995 Mekong Agreement. It is set to grow and flourish as a leading river basin organisation.

With this vision in mind, we will have the opportunity to hear from the MRC Secretariat about the organisation’s plans to realise its mandate in 2013 and beyond.

As His Excellency mentioned earlier, although we are proud of numerous achievements made possible from a strong spirit of cooperation which has lived on over the past years, we are faced with daunting challenges that include, among other things, how we keep up considerable momentum in implementing our strategic direction.

During this strategic plan 2011-2015, the MRC needs to transition towards greater ownership of the organisation by Member Countries through the decentralisation of core rive basin management functions. Achieving this necessitates closer cooperation, together with implementation of concrete plans and corresponding activities, which we will hear more today, including lessons learned so far from some of the activities already decentralised.

Additionally, the implementation of the IWRM-based Basin Development Strategy will be reviewed at this meeting. Member Countries are at an advanced stage of laying out regional and national action plans to move forward the overarching Strategy, which provides riparian countries with a basin-wide vision and priority directions for balanced development and management of the Lower Mekong’s water and related resources.

In the afternoon we will highlight the support that our Development Partner community has been providing us and the MRC’s funding situation.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation of the depth of mutual cooperation between Development Partners and the MRC. This close tie has prospered, nurtured by the strong commitment and confidence of Development Partners in the organisation, in particular the continued support at a time when the MRC shifts its direction towards greater ownership by the Member Countries and self-financing sustainability.

Distinguished Delegates,

Honorable Development Partners,

Ladies and gentlemen,

There is a lot of information to take in today but I know it will be very informative and hope you enjoy the session.

As I conclude my remarks, I would like to thank you for your time and consideration.

I will now ask you to please bring your biggest smiles with you and come forward for our group photo.

Thank you.