Four riparian nations launch two new initiatives protect Mekong River

By Minh Nga   November 28, 2022 | 05:53 am PT
Four riparian nations launch two new initiatives protect Mekong River
A man fishes on the Tien River, a tributary of the Mekong River in southern Vietnam, May 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tai
The governing body of the Mekong River Commission, which has Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam as its members, has approved two major initiatives to better protect the river.

At the 29th Meeting of the Mekong River Commission Council held last week in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau, representatives of member nations approved a Multi-Year Work Plan (MWP) for 2023-2024 to assist every national agency working to implement the MRC's Strategic Plan (SP) 2021-2025.

The SP covers crucial areas for the Mekong River Basin to maintain its ecological functions, including: enabling inclusive access and use of its water and related resources; enhancing optimal, sustainable development of its water and related resources; strengthening resilience against climate risks like floods and droughts; and strengthening cooperation among all MRC countries and stakeholders.

The MRC Council's Chairperson for 2022, Vietnam's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, said the MWP "will kick-start the second important phase of the Strategic Plan."

It is a key component of "concerted efforts and perseverance of member countries to work toward a sustainable and healthy Mekong River Basin," he said.

Within the MWP for 2022, 158 tasks were laid out – of which 123 have already been completed by October.

Also last week, the MRC council approved the re-designed Core River Monitoring Network (CRMN).

The CRMN, launched in 2018 and 2019, identified various inefficiencies in how each of the four member countries was addressing challenges, including: a lack of regional and national network integration leading to redundancies and indirect use of most monitoring data; concerns over human and technical capabilities; reliability and capacity of systems and the costs of updating equipment as a strain on national budgets; and ineffective alignment and integration among monitoring stations and their activities.

After an internal review of these functions, the redesigned CRMN aims to not only ameliorate the issues, but address the spectrum of trans-boundary riverine-related challenges, the council said.

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