Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has suggested the Mekong River Commission (MRC) give priority to fully and effectively implementing the 1995 Mekong Agreement and promoting its monitoring and coordinating role in performing the commitments of the MRC member countries.
Speaking at the third Mekong River Commission (MRC) Summit in Siem Reap, Cambodia on April 5, he stressed the prime concern of the Vietnamese Government is how to respond to negative impacts caused by climate change in the Mekong Delta region, extreme weather phenomena and human activities.
He urged the MRC to focus on building development planning framework in the Mekong River basin to harmonize with the water resources planning of countries, and promote the implementation of cooperation projects.
The Vietnamese leader also stressed the need to enhance the sharing of information and data related to the basin, and boost coordination and connectivity between the MRC and its dialogue partners and development partners, and cross-border river basin management organisations, thus mobilising resources, and collecting management experience and modern technologies for the implementation of sub-regional cooperation initiatives.
With the theme “'Enhancing Joint Efforts and Partnerships towards Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Mekong River Basin,” the summit saw the attendance of the Prime Ministers of the four members of the MRC namely Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. It also saw the participation of the Minister of Water Resources of China and the Minister of Environment of Myanmar, the two dialogue countries of the MRC, and representatives from other development partners.
The summit reviewed cooperation within the commission and the implementation of commitments made at the second summit in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City in 2014, while identifying priority areas in the next periods.
The leaders affirmed their resolve to push Mekong cooperation in order to utilise development opportunities and overcome challenges.
They agreed to apply the set of procedures of the commission on the sustainable, reasonable and equal use of water resources and other resources of the Mekong River.
They shared the view that the MRC should promote its role in orienting cooperation and setting forth specific measures in order to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the region.
It is necessary to enhance cooperation with mechanisms in and outside the region such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Mekong-Lancang cooperation, the Greater Mekong Sub-region cooperation and other international river basin management organisations, while encouraging public involvement in these efforts, the summit heard.
The delegates approved the Siem Reap Declaration which acknowledges achievements recorded by the commission, points to opportunities and challenges for the Mekong River Basin and affirms the importance of Mekong cooperation as well as the acceleration of the implementation of the 1995 Mekong Agreement.
The document also outlines priority activities of the commission for the next four years and long-term orientations for cooperation within the commission.
Later on the day, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc left Siem Reap for Hanoi.
In 1956, the Mekong Committee was established under the auspices of the United Nations to coordinate aid and manage resources in the river basin. In 1995, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam signed an Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River and set up the MRC, replacing the Mekong Committee.
The MRC holds its summit every four years, starting from 2010. The first MRC summit was held in Hua Hin, Thailand in 2010 and the second one took place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2014.