Vientiane, Lao PDR, 24 April 2024 – The CEO of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), Dr Anoulak Kittikhoun, welcomed Mr. Kenichi Kobayashi, the Japanese Ambassador to Laos, to visit the MRC Regional Flood and Drought Management Centre in Phnom Penh on 23 April 2024. The ambassador's visit highlighted the ongoing cooperation between Japan and the MRC in improving flood and drought forecasting across the Mekong region.

During the visit, the MRC provided comprehensive updates on the Centre's activities and achievements. The MRC Secretariat experts gave a demonstration of the Centre's monitoring and forecasting services. The presentation focused on critical areas such as rainfall patterns, water levels, dam conditions, and drought risks. Ambassador Kenichi Kobayashi also explored the MRC's use of new technologies and innovative approaches to strengthen the Centre's capability in disaster prediction and response.

Furthermore, the MRC and the Japanese delegation discussed potential future collaborations, including improvements in tributary forecasting, upgrades to flash flood and drought forecasting with implications for agriculture, and enhanced support for transboundary drought adaptation.

“Reflecting on the long history of collaboration between the MRC and Japan, I was pleased to visit the MRC Regional Flood and Drought Management Centre in Phnom Penh. The work being done here is critical to the sustainable management of water resources in the Mekong region. I was impressed by the MRC team, and I look forward to seeing how their efforts continue to contribute to flood and drought management in the future.” said Ambassador Kobayashi.

Japan has been a key development partner for the MRC, contributing significantly to the ongoing cycle for 2021 - 2025. This partnership underscores Japan's commitment to fostering resilience in the Mekong region through advanced technology and international cooperation. The exact amount of Japan's contribution, set at approximately USD 8.2 million, reflects this strong commitment.

It is important to note that with the Japan's funding support, the MRC Secretariat is upgrading its situation room, developing medium-range forecasts, a flood mapping tool, and drought adaptation guidelines. This collaboration aims to enhance the MRC's capacity to predict and manage floods and droughts, which impact the nearly 70 million people living along the Mekong River.

“We were delighted to receive Ambassador Kobayashi at our center in Phnom Penh,” said Dr Anoulak, “his visit marked not only a symbolic gesture of Japan's unwavering support but also solidified our shared commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology and international cooperation for the betterment of the Mekong region.”

The visit concluded with an affirmation of the continued partnership between Japan and the MRC, with both parties agreeing to explore additional areas of cooperation to enhance regional resilience to flood and drought events.

Read this news in Lao. 


Note to Editors:

The MRC is an intergovernmental organization established to promote and coordinate sustainable management and development of water and related resources in the Mekong River Basin. Since its establishment in 1995, the MRC has played a crucial role in facilitating cooperation among the riparian countries to address shared challenges and opportunities in the basin. For more information, visit