Luxembourg has provided financial support of EUR 1 million (approximately $1.13 million) to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to assist Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam to maintain the ecological functions of the Mekong River and strengthen resilience against climate risks, floods and droughts, according to an MRC press statement.
The grant will support a range of activities including core river basin management, data acquisition, and improve monitoring, modelling and assessment functions. In addition, the support will aid planning and forecasting and contribute to the MRC’s early warning and emergency response system.
The grant comes at a critical time for the Lower Mekong Basin as challenges posed by climate change, notably drought and flood increases, put pressure on the Basin’s sensitive ecological system.
“Without intervention, further deterioration of the Basin’s ecosystem may adversely affect the populations and the economies that depend on the Mekong,” said Anoulak Kittikhoun, MRC Secretariat Chief Executive Officer, at the signing ceremony in Vientiane on 20 January.
According to Anoulak, the MRC will ensure that water and related sectors are provided with the information and the tools required to achieve optimal and sustainable development, where new national power generation plans consider the full range of viable generation sources, and meet multiple purposes as well as the complementary use of wind and solar energy.
The CEO added the MRC would also explore how the operations of water infrastructures throughout the Basin should be coordinated to maximize their benefits and limit adverse environmental impacts on the Mekong mainstream and people.
Sam Schreiner, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Luxembourg to Laos, noted Luxembourg’s commitment to the Mekong Basin remained strong and that his government wanted to see prosperous and responsible development in the Mekong region.
“We believe this agreement will go some way to assisting the MRC and member countries in tackling the associated risks arising from climate change and change to the flow characteristics of the Lower Mekong Basin,” he said.
Over the last decade, Luxembourg contributed almost $4 million to the previous MRC Strategic plan 2016–2020, and supported the MRC Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative during 2010–2015.