Bangkok, Thailand, 26 October 2016 - The Mekong River Commission (MRC) with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has initiated a dialogue on the potential application of MRC studies, guidelines and tools for hydropower planning at a Sustainable Hydropower Practice Forum held in Bangkok, Thailand on 25-26 October. 

The forum was attended by diverse stakeholders - government agencies, civil society, the private sector and academia - who are engaged in planning and sustainable development of hydropower schemes, particularly in the Lower Mekong Basin. During the 2-days forum, over 60 participants had the opportunity to interact with sustainable hydropower international experts and MRCS’ representatives, who facilitated the discussion rounds, as well as with a wide range of stakeholders. Key questions discussed during the forum revolved around the relevance and usefulness of the MRC studies, guidelines and tools to the different stakeholders. During the forum’s breakout sessions, participants had the opportunity to identify and discuss potential for the tools application and explore collaboration possibilities. Participants also provided feedback on the ease of understanding and user-friendliness of the tools and several leads on how those tools are useful for their working sector. Those information together with constructive suggestions for further improvement of the studies, were extremely useful as they will be accounted for, by the international experts, in the final phase of the Initiative for Sustainable Hydropower (ISH).

The forum greatly succeeded in helping relevant stakeholders gaining a deep understanding on sustainable hydropower practices. Mr. Ham Kimkong, senior researcher RUPP and Director of a consulting firm from Cambodia, perceived the potential of the tools in practical words: “When finalized those tools will be beneficial to affected population and Hydropower developer”, he said. Meanwhile Dr. Long Trinh Thi from WWF-Vietnam was “impressed by the workshop where she learned a lot on the tools presented”.

MRCS CEO Dr. Pham Tuan Phan praised the efforts of the team in conducting studies and development of these guidelines and tools. Emphasizing that the increasing energy demand in the region and the rapid development of hydropower, those tools are relevant to reduce negative transboundary impact, as such the MRC will push for their application. The MRC and GIZ welcome ideas and project proposals in using those tools for hydropower planning.

This Forum is the third of its kind, following the success of two previous fora in 2015, Fish & Hydropower Forum in June 2015 and Forum on Sustainable Hydropower Planning in November 2015.

The studies, guidelines and tools explored during this Forum were:

i.  Identification   of Ecologically Sensitive Areas for Hydropower planning

ii. Multi-Purpose   Evaluation of Hydropower Plans

iii. Benefit Sharing   Options for Hydropower on Mekong tributaries

iv. Mitigation   Guidelines for Sustainable Hydropower Practice

v.  Improved   Environmental and Socio-Economic Baseline Information for Hydropower Planning  

vi. The Rapid   Basin-wide Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Tool


Supporting material from the conference can be found here.



Note to editors:

The MRC is the intergovernmental body responsible for cooperation on the sustainable management of the Mekong Basin whose members include Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. It serves as a regional platform for water diplomacy as well as a knowledge hub of water resources management for the sustainable development of the region. It is not a supra-national or regulatory body. The commission looks across all sectors including sustaining fisheries, identifying opportunities for agriculture, maintaining the freedom of navigation, flood management and preserving important ecosystems. Superimposed on these are the future effects of more extreme floods, prolonged drought and sea level rise associated with climate change.

For more information, please contact:

The Office of the Secretariat in Vientiane
Phone: +856 021 263 263