Twenty-Fifth Meeting of the MRC Council                                                         

SESSION 2: Joint Meeting with the Twenty-Third                                                       

Development Partner Consultative Group

Mekong River Commission                                                                             

28 November 2018

Ha Long City, Viet Nam



Closing Remarks By H.E. Dr. Tran Hong Ha

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment

Chairperson of Viet Nam National Mekong Committee

Member of the MRC Council for Viet Nam

Chairperson of the MRC Council for 2018



H.E. Mr. Lim Kean Hor (Lim Kin Ho)

Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology
Chairperson of the Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia
Head of Delegation for Cambodia


H.E. Mr. Sommad Pholsena (Sỏm-mạt Phôn-sể-na)
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Chairperson of Lao National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Lao PDR
Head of Delegation for Lao PDR


Ms. Wanthanee Viputwongsakul (Oan-tha-ni Vi-pụt-vông-sả-kun)
Charge d' Affaires,
Royal Thai Embassy in Hanoi
Head of Delegation for Thailand


H.E. Mr. Le Cong Thanh
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
Vice Chairperson of the Viet Nam National Mekong Committee
Alternate Member of the MRC Council for Viet Nam
Head of Delegation for Viet Nam


Distinguished Representatives of Development Partners
Distinguished Representatives of Dialogue Partners


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Now that we have come to the end of the Twenty-Fifth MRC Council and the Joint Meeting with the Development Partner Consultative Group, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all the Delegates for all your advice and guidance throughout the session that has made it a true success.

We have all been briefed on developments and are very proud of the many significant achievements made by the MRC in strategic areas. We have provided our productive deliberation on several pending issues for a more effective implementation by the Secretariat.

We have learned with much interest the reported progress of the Siem Reap Declaration’s implementation following the 3rd MRC Summit held in Siem Reap, Cambodia earlier this year. The Council has also shared advice and guidance on how to more strategically achieve further fresh progress on the implementation of the mentioned priority areas of actions as stipulated in the Declaration.

We have also profited from the reports on other areas of MRC’s work, including the Basin Development Strategy 2016-2020 and the implementation of Member Countries’ National Indicative Plans 2016-2020; the MRC Procedures implementation; findings of the Mid Term Review; hydrological conditions of the Lower Mekong Basin; and the MRC Annual Work Plan 2019.



Ladies and Gentlemen,

While we enjoyed the fruitful reports from the Joint Committee and the Secretariat, we have also provided our strategic advice and guidance on critical issues for better implementation.

We welcome the broader cooperation and new joint efforts with our partners, paving the way for a better integration with other regional and international cooperation frameworks. 

It’s also a pleasure to see the extension of financial support from our Development Partners who have always provided us with their support and trust all along the journey, for which we express our profound thanks and appreciation.

As we have approved the selection of the second riparian CEO from Cambodia at this Meeting, I would like to take this opportunity to make a very special mention of the first term of a riparian CEO, widely seen as the most challenging ever for all CEOs in our cooperation history. It was notable for the pressures from the organization restructuring; declining support from Development Partners; along with the complicated issues ranging from climate change to increasing water demand and the mainstream structure’s proposals. Surprisingly, in the face of such strong headwinds, the MRC Secretariat first led by a riparian has been sailing to harbours of amazing accomplishments. With his high level of determination and vast experience, Dr. Pham Tuan Phan has successfully introduced a new example of riparian leadership of hard-working, dedication, bringing the organization to world-class level. On behalf of the MRC Council, I would like to record my profound thanks and appreciation to Dr. Phan and wish him all the best in the time ahead in his outstanding career.   



Ladies and Gentlemen

Before concluding, I would like to express my profound thanks and appreciation to Council Members for their wholehearted support and constructive advice, and to the Joint Committee and the MRC Secretariat for their excellent assistance to me during the whole tenure of my chairmanship this year.

My special appreciation and thankfulness also go to the MRC Secretariat and Viet Nam National Mekong Committee Office for all their untiring arrangements towards the ultimate success of these meetings.

Now allow me to officially hand over the Chairmanship of the MRC Council to the Cambodian Member, His Excellency Mr. Lim Kean Hor, Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology of Cambodia, Chairperson of Cambodia National Mekong Committee and wish him every success for the coming year. You may rest assured, Excellency, of my full support and constant co-operation in the year to come.

I do hope you all have a memorable time at Ha Long Bay and wish all of you a safe trip back home.

With this, I would like to announce the Twenty-Fifth Meeting of the MRC Council and the Twenty-Third Meeting of Development Partner Consultative Group closed. 

Thank you for your attention.