Statement by H.E. Dr. Nguyen Thai Lai - 19th Meeting of the MRC Council

Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, 17th Jan 2013

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

 

Statement

By

H.E. Dr. Nguyen Thai Lai
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Viet Nam
Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam National Mekong Committee
Alternate Member of the MRC Council for Viet Nam

Excellency Mr. Noulinh Sinbandhit

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Chairman of Lao National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for the Lao PDR
Chairman of the MRC Council for 2012-2013

Excellency Mr. Noulinh Sinbandhit 
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Chairman of the Lao National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Lao PDR
Chairman of the MRC Council for 2012 – 2013
Excellency Mr. Nguyen Thai Lai 
Vice Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Vice Chairman of the Viet Nam National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Viet Nam
Excellency Mr. Sin Ny Ny 
Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology
Chairman of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia  
  
Excellencies, Ambassadors, Distinguished Delegates, Development Partners, Ladies and Gentlemen
First of all, the Thai National Mekong Committee would like to inform  that H.E. Mr. Preecha Rengsomboonsuk, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, has serious assignment and cannot join for today Meeting. He would like to convey his apology to the Member of MRC Council and the Meeting, in this regard. Thus, I was authorized to deliver statement on behalf of  H.E. Mr. Preecha. Firstly, we would like to express our appreciation and heartfelt thanks to the Government of Lao People Democratic Republic for hosting  the 19th Mekong River Commission Council Meeting, in the beautiful city of  Luang Prabang, ranking on the world famous tourism.
Thailand would like to reaffirm that we will continue our support for MRC Cooperation, in particular to achieve the prosperity of the Mekong Basin while maintaining a good health of  Mekong River for all people whose life depending on it. Thailand certainly confident that this policy platform will play a potential role to help our region keeping a momentum of environmental health with parallel to an implementation of economic development plan.
As you are all aware that, now, we are reaching the mid of MRC Strategic Plan of 2011 to 2015, the MRC has made progressively implementation especially on drafting basin development strategy and the assessment of basin development scenario. These were shown a major step towards our commitments to protect people livelihood in the Mekong Basin whenever we have made decision on any development projects on the mainstream. 
Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
During last year, the MRC had held Mekong2Rio International Conference on Trans-Boundary Water Resources Management. Its results were shown us that our economic, social and environmental prosperity depends on how we protect and share the benefits of our common water resources through cooperative mechanisms as well as an involvement of stakeholders in the Mekong basin. Our increasing demands for food and energy depends on our ability to work together to develop and manage the water resources, as well as to identify the linkages between sectors while protecting the unique environment of the Mekong.
This messages has reminded us that the joint and collaborative action are urgent required. Thailand realize  that, sometimes,  policies at national level may cause to different point of views on MRC Programme implementation which consequently create barriers to cooperation. However, Thailand certainly confident that such different views are still on a friendly manner, which could drive us to meet our goals. To achieve our commitment, we need to continue to strengthen the MRC to enable it to play an important role and unique role on the sustainable development of water and related resources in the Mekong Basin. Thus, Thailand wish to raise the issue that it would be better for the Mekong River Commission to urgently implement the MRC Procedures as well as start the council study in order to prepare ourselves to may caused mitigate the transboundary impact and make sure of our future ecological balance.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Government of Lao People Democratic Republic for the warm welcome and kind hospitality accorded to all delegations and we would like to express our thanks to development partners for supporting MRC to expedite activities for sustainable development in the basin.
Thank you for your kind attention 
 
                  

Excellencies Members of the MRC Council,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates and Donor Representatives,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to warmly welcome you all to the Nineteenth Meeting of the MRC Council and the Joint Meeting with the Seventeenth Donor Consultative Group in Luang Phrabang today. I thank our Lao host for the warm friendly welcome and the excellent arrangement made for our Meeting.

Looking back at the time since the Eighteen Meeting of the MRC Council, allow me on behalf of the Viet Nam Delegation attending the Nineteenth Meeting of the MRC Council and the Joint Meeting with the Seventeenth Donor Consultative Group to express our heartfelt gratitude and sincere thanks to His Excellency Mr. Lim Kean Hor, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology of Cambodia, Chairperson of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee, Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia, Chairperson of the MRC Council for 2011/2012 for his excellent contribution in guiding the Mekong River Commission to accomplish unremarkable achievements during the last one year of his chairmanship.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express the sincerest congratulation to H.E. Mr. Noulinh Sinbandhit, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Lao PDR, Chairperson of the Lao National Mekong Committee for having assumed the Chairmanship of the MRC Council for 2012/2013. It is my confidence that, under your chairmanship, the Mekong River Commission will score further fruitful results in the year to come and I would wish to assure you, Mr. Chairman, of our full support and highest level of cooperation in the implementation of important tasks of the Mekong River Commission.

In the past year, I am very pleased to see that the Mekong River Commission has made remarkable achievements in implementing the Hua Hin Declaration, including preparation of the national and regional action plans to implement the IWRM-based basin development strategy, roadmap of decentralization of the MRC core river basin management functions to the member countries, especially agreement on the concept note for the MRC joint study on sustainable management and development of the Mekong River, including impacts by mainstream hydropower projects. In addition, the MRC Programmes and Initiatives also have achieved important results in assisting riparian countries in integrated water resources management, climate change adaptation and disaster management and prevention.

I am also very excited about the encouraging results gained from the meetings with two upstream countries (China and Myanmar) in the past year. I highly appreciate the efforts of the MRC Programmes and of the Secretariat in promoting the initiatives of cooperation.

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Degradation and depletion of water resources are taking place at alarm level in many rivers over the world. While most previously international and regional forums focused on issues of economic cooperation, trade and development, they are now taking more and more interest in cooperation on security and sustainable development of water resources, such as ASEAN, ASEM, APEC and East Asia forums. This in turn creates opportunities for the Mekong River Commission to extend our cooperation and exchange of experiences on sustainable water resources management at the trans-boundary river basins with our partners in the region and over the world.

Our Mekong River are now facing major challenges, namely impact of climate change and sea level rise; floods and droughts occur more frequently and more severely; and water demand of the riparian countries for social and economic development is increasing. Especially, launching of the first mainstream hydropower project recently in the Lower Mekong Basin is causing concerns of the Governments of the riparian countries in the region and the international community about its adverse impacts on the downstream areas. While we are still trying to do the research to understand its impacts, each riparian country should show their responsibility by assuring that any future development and management of water resources proposed in the basin should be considered with due care and full precaution based on best scientific understanding of the potential impacts. In this forum of the Mekong River Commission, I call the riparian countries continue to join our hands to work closely to expedite the implementation of the Study on the sustainable management and development of the Mekong river including impacts of maninstream hydropower and toward sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin as committed in the Hua Hin Declaration. I call on all development partners to continue to support these endeavour.

Taking this opportunity, I am pleased to inform you that Viet Nam is conducting a study on the impacts of Mekong mainstream hydropower which will be commenced in few months. We also enjoy the support and participation from other member countries to the study. We would like to share with you the view that the Viet Nam –initiated study and the MRC one would be supplementary to each other. Any cooperation with our study will be highly apreciated and all requests for further information are welcome.

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very glad to hear the report on the financial status as well as the growing new commitment of the support from Development Partners for the Mekong River Commission in the past year. On this occasion, we would like to express our deep gratitude to the donors, development partners who have provided untired support to the Mekong River Commission in achieving the sustainable development of the basin, and I hope that Development Partners will continue to provide both financial and technical supports for the Commission, in particular for the implementation of the MRC joint study on sustainable management and development of the Mekong River, including impacts by mainstream hydropower projects.

In concluding my statement, on behalf of the Viet Nam National Mekong Committee and the Viet Nam Delegation, I would like to express my profound thanks to the Government of Lao PDR and the Lao National Mekong Committee for the warm hospitality accorded to us during the time of attending the MRC Meetings in this beautiful Luang Phrabang city. My thanks also go to the MRC Secretariat for its effective support to success of the Meeting.

I wish you all good health, success and happiness in the New Year 2013.

Thank you for your attention.