Welcome Address by H.E. Mr. Lim Kean Hor - The 18th Meeting of the MRC Council, Joint Meeting with the MRC Donor Consultative Group

Siem Reap, Cambodia, 09 Dec 2011

H.E. 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 the Kingdom of Cambodia, Chairperson of the MRC Council for 2011/2012

Excellency Dr. Yim Chhay Ly
Deputy Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia
Chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development

Excellency Mr. Sin Niny
Permanent Vice-Chairman of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Alternate Member of the MRC Council for the Kingdom of Cambodia
Head of the Delegation of Cambodia

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

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

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

Representatives of Development Partners
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, on behalf of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee, and as the Chairperson of the MRC Council for 2011-2012, I would like to thank Your Excellency Deputy Prime Minister for your present with us today to deliver an Opening Address for the Joint Meeting of the MRC Council with the Donor Consultative Group.

I would particularly like to warmly welcome Delegations and all our Development Partners to the Session 2: Joint Meeting with the Sixteenth Donor Consultative Group and to this beautiful and historical Siem Reap City.

I hope the accommodations are comfortable and you are enjoying the hospitality during your stay in this special part of Cambodia. And I hope you enjoy it here as much as the people here enjoy having you.

Today during our Meeting I am looking forward to hearing from the four Member Countries who will all address the Session. Following that we will then focus our attention on our Development Partners who are crucial in helping us reach our goals.

Less than two years ago the Hua Hin Declaration was adopted at the first MRC Summit. This outcome has been nourished and nurtured by MRC actions and we look forward to hearing about its progress.

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The MRC is set to grow and flourish as a world-class river basin organization. With this vision, we will also have the opportunity to hear the MRC’s 2012 plan from the MRCS’s new Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Hans Guttman who is a new yet familiar MRC face and has a long history of working with and for the MRC. 

During this transition period of the organization towards greater ownership and the reshaping of basin development planning we will focus our gaze on the MRC Policy, Strategy and Procedural Matters. After adopting the MRC Strategic Plan 2011-2015 during the last MRC Council Meeting, we will later on hear about a key part of the plan which is making plans to move ahead with the decentralization of the MRC’s core functions to the Member Countries. 

Additionally, the IWRM-based Basin Development Strategy, which was also adopted by the MRC Council last year, gives initial directions for sustainable development and management of the Mekong River Basin and will be updated by the MRC every five years. The Plan covers challenges and opportunities facing the Mekong Basin and identifies the actions needed to address these challenges while maximising those opportunities. Today we will find out how the MRC has pushed this strategy forward. 

In the afternoon we will hear about the implementation of MRC Procedures as well as progress on the Development Partners support and the MRC’s funding situation. 

For years the MRC Secretariat has worked in close cooperation with the Development Partners. This bond has prospered and grown in recent times. The new strategic direction has been welcomed by the Development Partners, who have shown strong commitment and confidence in supporting the MRC during its transition period towards decentralisation of its core functions and greater ownership by the Member Countries. 

Though financial support from MRC’s Development Partners has remained strong, there have always been other areas of cooperation such as technical assistance and in-kind support. 

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about flooding today. You can’t turn on a television or open a newspaper without seeing images of destroyed homes and lost lives. Today you will hear the MRC’s version of the flood situation in the Lower Mekong Basin and how the organization is continuously addressing flood management aspects. The high level of floods this year has tested our resources and approaches. You will learn how the MRC has managed to mitigate the risks from floods, drought and sea level rise.

There is a lot of information to take in today but I know it will be highly informative and hope you enjoy the Session. I would now like to thank you for your time and consideration and will conclude my remarks by wishing the Meeting a great success. I will now ask you to please bring your best smiles with you and come forward for our group photograph.

Thank you.