MRC countries adopt Siem Reap Declaration
16:28 | 05/04/2018
VGP -  The 3rd Summit of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) wrapped up today with the adoption of  Siem Reap Declaration.

Overview of the 3rd Mekong River Commission Summit in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: VGP/Quang Hieu

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his counterparts from MRC member countries namely Cambodia, Laos, Thailand attended the summit.

The declaration reiterates the MRC member countries’ highest-level political commitment to the 1995 Mekong Agreement and the primary and unique role of the MRC in cooperating on sustainable development of water and related resources in the Mekong River Basin.

It commends the MRC for recent achievements and progress made since the 2nd MRC Summit, including the adoption and implementation of the IWRM-based Basin Development Strategy and other basin-wide strategies and guidelines as well as continued implementation of the five sets of procedures that enable the MRC member countries to consult and negotiate water use within the basin.

“The Mekong River Basin offers development opportunities and cooperation for mainstream and tributary water resources development, fisheries, navigation, flood and drought management, tourism and environment including ecosystem management,” according to the declaration.

“There remain significant challenges such as rapid economic and population growth, increased demand for water, food and energy, urbanisation, industrialisation, the loss of environmental assets, wetlands and natural fisheries, deforestation, floods and droughts and risks to biodiversity and people’s livelihoods and assets,” the declaration warns.

It goes on to say that the MRC member countries expect the MRC to foster joint efforts and partnerships to optimize any development opportunities and to address challenges and risks through a basin-wide, integrated, gender-sensitive and inclusive multi-disciplinary process. This is in line with the main key messages that came out of the two-day pre-Summit International Conference, which drew about 400 participants.

Development partners who represented in the Summit also stated that the MRC had significantly evolved and yielded many successes over the years.

The anniversary of the Mekong Agreement, which was signed on 5 April 1995, is commemorated every year with the celebration of the Mekong Day. This year, the occasion was celebrated by exhibiting key MRC achievements and products, including the winning entries of a recent writing competition on the Mekong River, during the 3rd MRC Summit and International Conference.

Other priorities noted in the declaration include keeping up the recent momentum in implementing the procedures on water use in the basin; implementing the basin-wide strategies and guidelines especially joint projects; strengthening the MRC basin-wide monitoring networks and forecasting systems for floods and droughts, and the data and information management systems underpinning them; identifying and implementing opportunities for further cooperation with partners and important regional cooperation frameworks, including Mekong-Lancang Cooperation.

Finally, the heads of government reaffirmed their support to the MRC’s ongoing institutional reform, which is well on its way to transforming the commission into a lean, efficient, and financially self-sufficient organization.

The next MRC Summit will be held in four years, in April 2022, in Laos./.

By Hoang Ha

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