Statement by H.E. Mr. Preecha Rengsomboonsuk - The 18th Meeting of the MRC Council, Joint Meeting with the MRC Donor Consultative Group

Siem Reap, Cambodia, 9th Dec 2011

H.E. Mr. Preecha Rengsomboonsuk,  Minister of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Chairman of the Thai National Mekong Committee

Excellency Mr. Lim Kean Hor
Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology
Chairman of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia
Chairman of the MRC Council for 2011 – 2012 

Excellency Mr. Sin Niny
Vice Chairperson of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Alternate Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia
Head of Delegation for Cambodia

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

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

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

Once again, this is an opportunity for MRC Member Countries to reaffirm our commitment to sustainable development in the Lower Mekong basin. First of all, I would like to reiterate the sincere and wholehearted commitment of the Royal Thai Government towards Mekong cooperation, especially in terms of moving towards the achievement of the MRC Strategic Plan’s goal by 2015.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the delegations from the member countries and development partners for their concerns and their assistance provided to the Thais who had to endure during the recent flood in Thailand.

As you are all well aware, the recent flood situation affecting more than two-thirds of Thailand’s 77 provinces is the worst in a century, which contributed to a major loss of lives and properties, resulting in the disruptions of economic and social activities. The flooding has been estimated to result in a decrease in Thailand’s national economic growth of about 0.6 to 0.9 percent. Apart from the Chao Phraya River basin, Thailand’s three major river basins in the Northeast, namely the Mekong, and its tributaries Mun and Chi, have all experienced flooding this year. Moreover, countries in the region also experienced severe flooding during this year’s monsoon season.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

Thailand is of the view that MRC Member Countries should strengthen their capacity on flood management and mitigation, expedite and avail their knowledge on integrated water resources management. In order to do so, MRC Member Countries must cooperate with one another to share regional efforts and lessons learnt to better prepare themselves on how to mitigate flood disaster, and also to help people in the region increase their resilience and minimize their vulnerability to climate risks. Thailand reaffirms the importance of the synchronization of the functioning of Lower Mekong basin flood-related agencies in each MRC Member Country.

Thailand looks forward to supporting the MRC Member Countries and Mekong River Commission to make continuous progress, achieve the MRC Strategic Plan’s goals and milestones, and further contribute to meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Reducing vulnerability to flood through flood plain management should be prioritized among Mekong trans-boundary issues that need to be addressed in an Integrated Water Resources Management context. The focus should include consideration of possible impacts of climate change together with maintaining the Mekong environment, natural resources and ecosystem functions to support people’s livelihoods.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

Aiming toward the sustainability and prosperity of the Lower Mekong basin, Thailand strongly supports an implementation of decentralization and the transition of the MRC organization towards full country ownership and riparianization, which have been reflected in the roadmap for decentralization of the MRC core functions.

Above all, Thailand wishes to express sincere gratitude to all Development Partners who have provided support to the Mekong River Commission and MRC Member Countries in the past, and urges them to continue their assistance to ensure sustainable development of the Lower Mekong basin and in the wider world.

Thank you.