Vientiane, Lao PDR, 12 February 2018 – Senior representatives from the Mekong River Commission (MRC) exchanged knowledge and experiences for better water resources management and explored further collaboration opportunities with Korean officials and private companies during a week-long visit to Korea’s Seoul and Daejeon.

The exchange visit, which took place from 29 January to 2 February, saw 14 MRC delegates visit different Korean institutions, including tidal power generation, solar farm, flood control office, and hydropower dams that incorporate a floating solar power system on the reservoir. At the sites, both MRC and Korean representatives discussed and exchanged views on many key topics, including sustainable hydropower development, water security issues, flood forecasting and protection, transboundary water issues between north and south Korea, and renewable energy options such as solar.

Mr. Pham Tuan Phan, MRC CEO, said he was impressed with new innovations on flood management and work on clean energy of K-Water and Han River Flood Control Office, which could be considered for the Mekong.

“Floating solar panels on a reservoir are interesting. In addition to hydropower, we’re considering all forms of renewable energy for the sustainable development of the Mekong River and its resources,” he said.

A Korean official briefs MRC delegates on floating solar panels at Chungju multipurpose dam as the group visits the site2

A Korean official briefs MRC delegates on floating solar panels at Chungju multipurpose dam as the group visits the site

The visit also included a business seminar in which the MRC delegates met with more than 100 representatives from the Korean government and private corporations, including Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency and Samsung to discuss investment opportunities in the Mekong countries, especially in MRC joint projects and national projects of basin-wide significance.

During the seminar the MRC spoke to these representatives about the current situation and development opportunities and challenges in the water and related sectors in each of the four Member Countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. It also called for more collaboration from Korea.

“We’re inviting Korea to partner with us, especially in building public-private partnership on sustainable water resources development and management in our region,” said CEO Pham.

“We are always keen to provide more support to the MRC and its member states. We stand ready to do this,” said Dr. Youngsun Koh, Korea Development Institute’s (KDI) Center for International Development Executive Director, in response to the call from CEO Pham.

This exchange visit is part of the MRC-KDI’s Knowledge Sharing Program under the Mekong-Korea Cooperation initiative that was launched through a memorandum of understanding in mid-2017. The program aims to create an avenue for the two to collaborate on sharing knowledge and experience in various fields of water and water-related resources.

The two bodies, through their experts, will produce a final report at the end of the program that will discusses both challenges and opportunities facing the Mekong River, including water security and integrated river basin management; challenges and opportunities in sustainable hydropower development; environmental impact assessment on hydropower development; and future direction of sustainable hydropower development. 

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