Mekong River Commission secures $13 mln pledges for strategic plan

By Viet Anh   June 24, 2021 | 05:30 am PT
Mekong River Commission secures $13 mln pledges for strategic plan
A general view of the site before Luang Prabang dam was built on the Mekong River outskirt of Luang Prabang province, Laos, February 5, 2020. Photo by Reuters.
Australia, Germany and Switzerland committed nearly $13 million in funding Thursday for the Mekong River Commission (MRC) as it begins implementing its 2021-2025 strategic plan.

An MRC press release said the funds will assist Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in responding to pressing challenges while safeguarding the ecological function of the Mekong River and improving people’s livelihoods.

Switzerland, Australia and Germany committed $5.3 million, $3.8 million and $3.55 million, respectively.

Australia will also provide additional technical support in other key areas, including the functioning of the MRC flood and drought management center, and "reinvigoration" of the MRC data and information systems.

Dr An Pich Hatda, MRC Secretariat CEO, said the support was timely and crucial to the MRC in implementing activities that balance the demands of economic development, social improvement, and environmental protection.

Under the new Strategic Plan, the MRC will work to ensure that new national power generation plans consider the full range of viable generation sources, including water-food-energy as well as the complementary use of wind and solar energy. It will also promote gender diversity, equity and inclusion in the water sector.

The MRC will also explore how operations of water infrastructures throughout the basin can be coordinated to maximize their benefits and limit adverse environmental impacts on mainstream Mekong River and people dependent on it for their livelihood.

Hatda said the commission will continue to foster regional dialogue among the Mekong basin countries, and deepen its engagement with China as well as other partners throughout ASEAN and Lancang-Mekong Cooperation for the benefit of all Mekong constituents.

The Strategic Plan 2021–2025 is a key tool for the commission to implement a new 10-year Basin Development Strategy, one that presents a paradigm shift for the basin.

Together, they seek to enable Mekong countries address current and emerging challenges while improving the overall state of the basin in the coming decade, the MRC said.

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