The MRC Strategic Plan (SP) 2021-2025 is a unified corporate plan that is fully integrated with the the IWRM-based Basin Development Strategy (BDS) 2021-2030. The SP sets out how the MRC will contribute to the implementation of the BDS 2021-2030 and strengthen the organisation over the next five years. It guides the actions of the MRC Secretariat in supporting the Member Countries - Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam - to promote and coordinate sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin.  

Basin Development Strategy

The Basin Development Strategy (BDS) is a basin-wide strategy aims at guiding all actors involved in the development and management of the Mekong water and related resources towards achieving improvements in the environmental, social and economic state of the Mekong River Basin, in line with the intent of the 1995 Mekong Agreement

The first BDS 2011-2015 and the second BDS 2016-2020 set out how the Member Countries used, managed and conserved the Mekong’s natural resources by providing an integrated basin perspective for the assessment and improvement of national plans and projects to ensure an acceptable balance between economic and environment outcomes that benefit the basin countries and people.

Unlike the previous editions with a timeframe of five years, the BDS 2021-2030 is prepared for a ten-year period and focuses on the entire Mekong River Basin as the current water security issues can be addressed effectively only at the basin scale through cooperation between all six basin countries and their cooperative bodies. The Strategy covers all water and related sectors and integrates the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relevant to water resources management and internalises a ‘gender and vulnerability’ approach to account for intersectional inequity and the different dimensions of vulnerability.

Compared to previous editions of the Strategy, this BDS 2021-2030 broadens the sustainable development opportunities with environmental and social investment opportunities to include:

  • Hydropower development to promote energy security and cross-border trade, and contribute to flood and drought management and a low-carbon economy;
  • Irrigated and climate-smart agriculture development to improve efficiency, increase resilience against drought and improve household food and water security needs;
  • Navigation development as an integrated, effective, safe and environmentally friendly way to move people and goods;
  • Leveraging the value from regionally significant environmental assets to rehabilitate forested areas in watersheds and preserve, restore and leverage the remaining wetlands and riverine habitats;
  • Flood and drought mitigation as a development opportunity in its own right or as part of other water sector investments;
  • Sustainable livelihoods to reduce inequities and achieve greater social inclusion of vulnerable communities in conjunction with joint and significant national projects; and
  • Fisheries and aquatic resources including fish stock enhancement and sustainable aquaculture to support food security.

In all these sectors, this Strategy promotes the development of joint investment projects between two or more countries and significant national projects that create benefits within the country as well as opportunities elsewhere in the basin. This includes (multi-purpose) storage-backed hydropower projects, transnational parks, watershed restoration and management projects, the preservation of wetlands and riverine habitats, floodwater management projects, river training and navigation safety, and projects based on new technology (such as floating solar on hydropower reservoirs).

The Strategy was prepared under the framework of MRC cooperation, with engagement of all basin countries and relevant regional cooperation mechanisms. The BDS 2021-2030 is designed for implementation by all national and regional stakeholders. The MRC will implement a substantial part of the Strategy’s strategic priorities itself through its five-year Strategic Plan.