11 January 2024, Vientiane, Lao PDR — The United Kingdom has provided £150,000 (approx. USD 190,000) in funding to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to boost the intergovernmental organization’s ability to communicate flood and drought information to communities across the four Lower Mekong Basin nations.

The announcement of the contribution took place on 10 January during a visit to the MRC Secretariat in Vientiane, led by Ms Joelle Jenny, Director for the Southeast Asia and Pacific Directorate at the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office. This development stems from a dialogue last year between Dr Anoulak Kittikhoun, the Chief Executive Officer of the MRC Secretariat, and Ms Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Minister of State for Indo-Pacific Affairs in the UK.

“The grant arrives at the right time, as we’re beefing up our ability to communicate critical information on flows, flood and drought to wider communities across the four countries,” Dr Kittikhoun said. “We want to ensure people receive this information right at their fingertips, and they can rely on them.”

The funding will be made available to the MRC for one year. Its primary purpose is to contribute to the development of an MRC Mobile App, which is designed to facilitate the sharing of information regarding water levels, flows, flood, drought, and other pertinent aspects, as part of the MRC’s early warning and emergency response system. Development of the MRC Mobile App has been underway since 2022, using MRC budget and support from Japan.

Ms Jenny told Dr Kittikhoun at their meeting the UK Government was pleased to work with the MRC and wanted to see a more resilient and prosperous Mekong.

“The UK Government is confident this grant will be instrumental in supporting the MRC to safeguard communities in the Lower Mekong Basin,” she said.

While the United Kingdom has not formally become a member of the MRC Development Partners, Ms Jenny expressed her delight the UK Government was able to support this important initiative. Currently, the organization boasts 13 Development Partners, including Australia, Belgium (Flanders), Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States of America.

Note to Editors:

The MRC is an intergovernmental organization established in 1995 to boost regional dialogue and cooperation in the Lower Mekong River Basin. Based on the Mekong Agreement among Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, the MRC serves as both a regional platform for water diplomacy and a knowledge hub – to manage water resources and support sustainable development of the region.