Statement by H.E. Mr. Chu Pham Ngoc Hien - 22nd Meeting of the MRC Council

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 13th Jan 2016

Twenty-second Meeting of the MRC Council, Agenda D.1
Session2: Joint Meeting with the Twentieth Development Partner Consultative Group
Mekong River Commission
13th January 2016
Phnom Penh, CAMBODIA

Statement

By

H.E. Mr. Chu Pham Ngoc Hien
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
Head of Delegation of Viet Nam

Excellency Mr. Lim Kean Hor,
Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology of Cambodia
Chairman of Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Chairman of the MRC Council for 2015/2016

Excellency Mr. Bun Hean,
Secretary of State of Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology
Permanent Vice-Chairman of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee

Excellency Madame Monemany Nhoybouakong
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Lao PDR
Vice Chairman of the Lao National Mekong Committee

General Surasak Karnjanarat,
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand
Chairman of Thai National Mekong Committee

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
Dialogue Partner’s and Development Partner’s Representatives
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to be here today to participate in this Joint Meeting with the Twentieth Development Partner Consultative Group held in Phnom Penh Capital, the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Allow me on behalf of His Excellency Mr. Nguyen Minh Quang, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Viet Nam, Member of the MRC Council for Viet Nam to join other Heads of Delegations to welcome all the distinguished representatives of the dialogue partners and development partners, guests from international and regional organizations to this important Joint Meeting. Your presence at this annual consultative event, once again proves your utmost dedication and deep concerns to our untiring efforts to pursue the sustainable development in the Mekong River Basin.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very glad to see great efforts of the Mekong River Commission and its Member Countries during the past period in concretizing the commitments of the Government Leaders in Hua Hin and Ho Chi Minh Declarations through: 1) Promotion of the implementation of the IWRM-based basin development strategy and the MRC Strategic Plan 2011-2015, and at the same time completion of updated IWRM-based basin development strategy and MRC Strategic Plan for next five years 2016-2020; 2) Enhancement of the ownership of the MRC Member Countries in both financial and technical aspects through increase of financial contributions and gradual transfer of the core river basin management functions to the MRC Member Countries; 3) Preparation of option for the MRC restructuring toward leaner and more efficient organization as well as completion of updating and readjusting the Rules of Procedures for the Council, Joint Committee and Secretariat to cope with the new challenges in the basin. In addition, the implementation of the MRC Council Study on sustainable management and development of the Mekong river basin, including the impacts of mainstream hydropower projects has been also expedited and encouraging results are achieved.

Taking this opportunity, I am pleased to inform you that after 30 months of implementation with participation of the recruited International Consultant, experts from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam, the Viet Nam initiated Study on “the Impacts of Mainstream Hydropower on the Mekong River” has been successfully completed at the end of December 2015 as originally planned. Results of each phase and final results of the Study were presented by Viet Nam at various national, regional and international workshops and forums. Most recently, in December 2015, Viet Nam sent a Government Delegation to report to the Leaders of the Government of Cambodia and Lao PDR, and the MRC Secretariat on the final results of the Study.

Results of the Study indicated that construction of the hydropower plants based on the 1994 Run-of-River Hydropower Plan will cause significant transboundary impacts on the Mekong Delta, especially on fisheries, sediment, ecology and livelihood of the people. These results, together with deep concerns on the transboundary impacts in the basin require that decision of the Government of the Riparian Countries on the construction of the hydropower plants on the Mekong mainstream should be made with care.

I would like to request the Development Partners to support for this view and the MRC Secretariat will review and readjust the 1994 Run-of-River Hydropower Plan aiming to harmonize the mutual benefits of all riparian countries and to ensure achievement of the goal on sustainable development of the basin.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite of encouraging results gained so far and while the Commission is moving forward under the new directions, we are still faced with a number of challenges due to climate change and increase of water use in unsustainable manner in the basin, which in turn would cause significant impacts on sustainable development of the basin.

To overcome the difficulties and challenges as outlined above effectively, I suggest that the MRC Secretariat should reserve all resources to implement the priority actions outlined in the Huan Hin and Ho Chi Minh City Declarations, focusing on completion of the Secretariat’s restructuring, increase of financial contributions, accelerating the implementation of the MRC Council Study, implementing IWRM-based Basin Development Strategy and Strategic Plan 2016-2020, continuing implementation of the Roadmap on decentralization of the core river basin management functions to the Member States, and identifying the opportunities to expand cooperation with Dialogue Partners and Development Partners, the regional and international initiatives, civil society organizations, private sectors and other stakeholders. We also recognize that there are still gaps of many data collected from the monitoring network of the Mekong River Commission, so I would like to recommend the Commission to instruct the Secretariat to review the monitoring activities aiming to increase its efficiency and quality of data in future.

In order to successfully implement these tasks, in addition to the efforts of the Mekong River Commission and its Member States, the support from the Development Partners is extremely important. Therefore, I wish to join other Council fellows once again to express our sincerest gratitude and thanks to them for their valuable and unfailing support during the last period and commitments of continued support for the upcoming period aiming to help the Commission to reach fully sef-financial sufficiency by 2030.

I wish to reaffirm our determination and strong commitment to use efficiently the financial supports from the Development Partners to achieve the regional and national development goals.
Finally, on the occasion of the New Year, I would like to wish Your Excellencies Ministers, distinguished delegates, representatives and participants for a New Year full of happiness, prosperity and success.

Thank you very much.