Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MRC gets $13M for management of Mekong River

MRC gets $13M for management of Mekong River

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Fishing boats on the Mekong river near Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Heng Chivoan

MRC gets $13M for management of Mekong River

Australia, Germany, and Switzerland have pledged nearly $13 million in funding for the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to assist member countries including Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam with their responses to pressing challenges while safeguarding the ecological functioning of the Mekong River and improving people’s livelihoods.

In a press release, the MRC said the contribution follows a series of funding from development partners as it begins implementing its Strategic Plan 2021–2025 to overcome the multiple threats that the basin faces.

MRC Secretariat CEO An Pich Hatda said on the sidelines of a signing ceremony during the Informal Development Partners Meeting in the Lao capital Vientiane on June 25 that the support was timely and crucial to the MRC in implementing activities that balance the demands of socio-economy development and environment protection.

Under the new Strategic Plan, Hatda said the MRC will 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 while promoting gender diversity, equity and inclusion in the water sector.

The commission, he added, will also explore how the operation of water infrastructures throughout the basin should be coordinated to maximise their benefits and limit adverse environmental impacts on the Mekong mainstream and people.

“The MRC will continue to foster regional dialogue among the basin countries and deepen its engagement with China as well as all other partners throughout ASEAN and the Lancing-Mekong Cooperation area, for the benefit of all Mekong constituents,” he said in the press release.

Australian ambassador to Laos Paul Kelly said the new funding commitment from his government was worth A$5.1 million (US$3.8 million).

“We hope the grant of these funds will assist the MRC and its Member Countries to enable inclusive and sustainable use of water and related resources of the Mekong, as a contribution to economic recovery from the pandemic for building environmental resilience and strengthening regional cooperation,” Kelly said.

Kelly said Australia was also providing additional technical support to the MRC in other key areas, including the MRC Flood and Drought Management Centre and the reinvigoration of the MRC data and information systems.

German ambassador to Laos Jens Lutkenherm pledged a contribution of €3 million ($3.55 million).

Lutkenherm said the funding would be dispensed over three years beginning in 2022, with $1.2 million allocated to the MRC’s core funding mechanism and the balance allotted to the MRC–GIZ Cooperation Programme for technical support.

“We believe this funding will help the MRC establish the core river monitoring network in the Mekong region, thus contributing to informing decisions over the development and management of water resources and to boosting the MRC’s ability to manage flood and drought risks more effectively,” he said.

Jean-Francois Cuenod, regional director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, pledged $5.3 million for the MRC’s new strategic plan over the next five years.

“We congratulate the MRC on launching the new visionary strategies that are critical to the Mekong River Basin.

“We look forward to working with the MRC, its member countries and other development partners in shifting the region towards a more sustainable and resilient path while making sure that no one will be left behind,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro