Mekong Lancang Cooperation: China welcomes MRC’s call for a closer tie
Vientiane, Lao PDR, 7 November 2018 – China has welcomed the Mekong River Commission’s (MRC) call for a closer cooperation between the Lancang Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center (LMWRCC) and MRC, says the MRC Secretariat’s top official.
The confirmation was made during a bilateral meeting between the MRC Chief Executive Officer Mr. Pham Tuan Phan and senior Chinese officials, held at the sideline of the First Lancang Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Forum on 1-2 November 2018 in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China.
“China has welcomed our call to strengthen cooperation between the Lancang Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center and MRC for the benefit of the whole Mekong River basin,” CEO Pham said. “We will be working on further identifying key areas of cooperation that are vital to our work for sustainable development of the Mekong River and the basin’s people.”
According to the CEO, Head of Chinese Joint Working Group for the Mekong Lancang Water Resources Cooperation Dr. Yu Xingjun also said that the Mekong Lancang Cooperation was trying to find possible ways to work with the MRC and that he publicly highlighted the important role of the Commission in the Kunming Forum.
This is in line with what the Chinese Minister of Water Resources Mr. E Jingping stated during the 3rd MRC Summit early this year, saying the “LMC will not replace any sub-regional mechanism … China is willing to work with the MRC and all riparian countries under the existing cooperation mechanisms”.
The MRC Secretariat and LMWRCC also discussed holding technical exchange visits to both sides. These visits will provide an avenue for further building relationship and mutual trust, leading to a better understanding and cooperation.
At the Kunming Forum, where CEO Pham was invited to deliver a keynote address on ‘international cooperation in water resources management in the Mekong river basin’, he highlighted the uniqueness of the MRC, its achievements over the past 23 years in supporting the member countries, and cooperation with partners from around the world. Representatives of all the four MRC member countries also made statements and delivered presentations at the Forum on ongoing work and cooperation within the MRC framework, including the implementation of MRC procedural rules and transboundary cooperation projects.
In his speech, the CEO reiterated the need for a much stronger tie between the MRC and China, extending his invitation to the latter to cooperate on various areas. Chief among them are the invitation for China to consider providing flood forecast data at the Jing Hong hydropower station and sharing hydrological data during the dry season as this will benefit development planning and drought management in the Mekong.
There was also an invitation for China to work together with the MRC on many strategic documents that are undergoing updates. These include the updates of the MRC’s Sustainable Hydropower Strategy, State of Basin Report, and Basin Development Strategy for the Mekong, including a new Basin Development Plan.
“There is no other better time than now for China to cooperate with the MRC if it is for the interest of the whole basin population of over 70 million people,” said CEO Pham.
Read this news in Khmer, Lao, Thai or Vietnamese.
Note to editors:
The MRC is an intergovernmental organization for regional dialogue and cooperation in the lower Mekong river basin, established in 1995 based on the Mekong Agreement between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The organization 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.
The MRC invited China and Myanmar as “dialogue partners” in 1996 and since then has been cooperating with the two partners in technical aspects of water resource management.
On 1 April 2002, China and the MRC signed an agreement on the provision of hydrological information on the Mekong-Lancang River; the agreement was renewed in 2013. Under the agreement, China now provides water-level data during the flood season for five months (Jun-Oct) twice daily from two stations located on the Lancang River in China. This information is fed into the MRC's flood forecasting system. China contributes 13.5 per cent of the flow of the Mekong River.
- END -