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Mekong countries enhance water cooperation along borders

Representatives of four Mekong countries have reaffirmed their commitment to expedite five bilateral projects in a bid to promote transboundary dialogue and improve coordinated water resources management along their borders.

They met at a project coordination and management meeting held recently in Da Nang, Vietnam, to discuss the progress of each project and challenges facing teams in developing bilateral water coordination mechanisms and action plans.

The five projects are part of the Mekong River Commission's (MRC) Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management Project (MRC's M-IWRMP), currently funded by the World Bank, according to the Mekong River Commission.

Addressing water resources management in fisheries, deltas, lakes, rivers and wetlands, the four countries are trying to establish better coordination mechanisms at local levels to tackle joint priority issues, such as severe floods and drought, decreased fish stocks, and the impacts of hydropower and other development.

As the five projects are slated for completion by March 2018, the representatives discussed how to expedite implementation to complete the projects on time.

During the meeting, officials from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam were committed to completing all outputs as fast a s they could but reported on some difficulties. They reported on some constraints and challenges in assessing how existing national coordination mechanisms, for example, in water flow data sharing and flood warning, could be a basis for extended bilateral cooperation mechanisms, without having frequent meetings and field trips to consult with local stakeholders.

They further stated they wished to get the projects extended to deliver concrete and quality outputs to help establish transboundary cooperation mechanisms between provinces and provinces along the borders.

The MRC's M-IWRMP coordination team said they would relay the need for an extension to the World Bank and provide necessary support for the project teams to continue quality work to establish bilateral mechanisms and action plans.

“We're very committed to completing our projects to have better coordination mechanisms between the countries,” said Mr Viengsai Sophachanh, who is the national focal point for the M-IWRMP at the Lao National Mekong Committee Secretariat, a comment similarly shared by representatives from the other three countries.

“I hope the World Bank will continue supporting our projects so that we can address priority water resources management issues for our people,” he added.

The lead of the MRC's Planning Division, Dr An Pich Hatda, noted that the two sides could attain what was planned if the MRC Secretariat and the four countries could further enhance their cooperation.

 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update September 6, 2017)


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