The 13th Regional Stakeholder Forum: Data Sharing for Transparency and Trust
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has opened registration for the 13th MRC Regional Stakeholder Forum (RSF), a platform for interested parties to hear updates about hydropower and other developments along the Mekong River — Southeast Asia’s largest river — which affects tens of millions of people.
The 13th RSF, previously scheduled in December 2022, had many of its previous contents incorporated into the International Conference of the 4th MRC Summit in April 2022. The Forum, now to be held in-person in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, as well as broadcast live online, will feature the latest reports on different projects and plans of public interest, and provide an opportunity to share their insights, opinions and concerns.
The RSF is part of the MRC mission, which is for the intergovernmental agency — comprised of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam — to serve as a transparent “knowledge hub” and facilitating “water diplomacy” platform.
1st Phase Report of the Joint Study on the Changing Patterns of Hydrological Conditions and Adaptation Strategies
Forum attendees will have the opportunity to learn of the findings from the 1st phase report of the landmark “Joint Study” between the MRC and the Mekong Lancang Cooperation on behalf of the six riparian Mekong-Lancang countries. (The Mekong is known as the Lancang in China.) That Joint Study, which was launched in June last year at the 12th RSF, aims to understand changing flow regime due to climate and developments, and to offer recommendations that can enhance information sharing about reservoir operations on the Mekong’s water flow, and water release as well as solutions to mitigate and adapt to impacts.
State of the Basin Report 2023
Among the key agenda items is for attendees to learn of the latest state of the Mekong River Basin, as reflected in the emerging State of the Basin Report 2023 (SOBR), the fourth of its kind. A flagship product of the MRC, the SOBR covers five critical dimensions including: environmental, social and economic conditions; climate change; and cooperation in the Mekong River Basin.
Compiled about every five years, based on facts and figures of available data and information, the SOBR assesses conditions within the basin and the impacts, both positive and negative, that development and use of the water and related natural resources create. It is intended to provide a statement of past trends and current conditions within the basin and to track changes brought about by the cooperation envisaged under the 1995 Mekong Agreement. It also seeks to highlight significant issues as well as apparent development opportunities that the Member Countries may wish to take up. The SOBR provides a comprehensive basis for the Member Countries and other key stakeholders to discuss and determine appropriate actions to realize the MRC’s aims for optimal and sustainable development of the basin as set out in the 1995 Mekong Agreement.
Proactive Regional Planning
Serving as one of the highest priorities of the MRC, the proactive regional planning (PRP) is a management response that will develop new knowledge and answers to the changing flow regime, limits of environment assets, storage (green or grey), sediment management, and water-energy integration. In the process, the MRC Decision Support Framework (DSF) will be upgraded from a planning tool into an operational management tool.
The PRP is a country-driven process. It will identify and assess the benefits, costs, and trade-offs of new supplementary investment projects and enabling activities that have not previously been considered by basin countries; these projects are meant to offer solutions through cooperation to the most pressing water security challenges faced by basin countries.
Furthermore, the PRP seeks to prepare an adaptive basin plan that supplements current national plans with basin projects and operations, which can increase regional water security as conditions change over time and create mutually beneficial win-win outcomes for the basin countries.
Other topics during the 1-day event will include:
- Updates on several hydropower projects, including the Xayaburi, Don Sahong, and the Luang Prabang (including Joint Action Plan implementation), as well as the proposed Sanakham and Phou Ngoy hydropower projects.
The draft programme will be made available here:
The 13th RSF will provide participants with an opportunity to receive the latest updates on Mekong water-resource development.
Participants will also be provided with an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns on those development projects and to provide recommendations on the important work in which the MRC is currently engaged.
We expect that by the end of the Forum:
- Participants will hear the latest MRC updates around various development activities in the Lower Mekong River Basin, thus increasing their appreciation of these activities.
- Participants will recognize the need for developing measures to adapt to the changing flow regime of the Mekong River. They will continue to provide useful feedback on various adaptation measures, for how the six Mekong countries effectively address these risks.
- Participants will appreciate the importance of working together to address common challenges in the Basin and why information sharing on water-related aspects is critical in this task.
All are welcome to the forum. In particular, we encourage the participation from:
- Government officials from MRC Member Countries, including the National Mekong Committee Secretariats, as well as implementing agencies related to energy, environment, fisheries, irrigation, and other water-related developments.
- MRC Dialogue Partners: China and Myanmar.
- The private sector, including hydropower dam developers and others engaged in hydropower management, development or investment, of dam projects along both the Mekong mainstream and its tributaries.
- Interested MRC Development Partners.
- Representatives of civil society organizations, riverine communities and research institutes.
- Any other interested parties from inside or outside the Mekong region.
Participation is open to all and free of charge. However, registration is required. Online registration has been extended to 15 September 2023. Click here to register.
Date and Venue
The 13th RSF will take place on 5 October 2023, at Pullman Luang Prabang, Lao PDR. The event will be broadcast live on each of the MRC’s social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Language of the Forum
English will be the Forum’s primary medium of communication. However, to increase engagement, translation into riparian languages will be provided to those who request. Please indicate the need in your registration.
Limited financial assistance is available for participants from civil society and community-based organizations who face financial difficulty. The aim is to facilitate the greatest possible diversity in our meaningful dialogue. If you need this support, please indicate that in your Registration Form.
If you’re travelling from outside Lao PDR (or Luang Prabang) to join us in person, please consult our Logistics Note. which will be posted here as soon as it becomes available. This will assist you with your travel and stay during the course of the Forum.
To ensure the meaningful participation of all stakeholders, the MRC Secretariat will post below each of the documents as they become available, including PowerPoint Presentations to be discussed at the event. Please do visit this space from time to time for updates.
Below you can find the documents that will be presented at the Forum.
|Findings from the First Phase of the MRC-LMC Joint Study: Changing patterns of hydrological conditions of the Lancang-Mekong basin and adaptation strategies
|State of the Basin Report 2023: What are some of the early findings on environmental, social, economic, climate change, and cooperation dimensions?
|Preliminary results from the Xayaburi hydropower sediment and fish monitoring
Joint Action Plan for the Luang Prabang Hydropower Project: Project development and recommendations implemented based on the JAP
|Luang Prabang Heritage Impact Assessment: Information sharing
|Progress and status of the Prior Consultation Process for the proposed Sanakham and Phu Ngoy hydropower projects, and the Don Sahong extension
|Proactive Regional Planning (PRP): Overview and progress on an ambitious plan to chart a more optimal and sustainable Mekong responsive to climate change and changing conditions
If you have any question about logistics, participation, media or anything else, please let us know.
Ms Malinya Phetsikhiaw
For Participation and Media:
Mr Sopheak Meas
Stakeholder Engagement Specialist
Interim Press Officer