Development partners on Thursday asked the Mekong River Commission to prioritise policies to protect the basin in future development strategies, noting that the Mekong river basin is among the most vulnerable regions due to climate change.
Representatives from European Union, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and the World Bank met with representatives of MRC member states Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam during an informal meeting in Laos.
An MRC statement published on Friday after the meeting noted that the development partners praised the commission for the good work it has done over the first half of this year and outlined key areas to focus on in the next development cycle, especially the implementation of the Pak Lay and Pak Beng hydropower projects.
Praising efforts by some MRC countries in implementing recommendations into respective national policy, the development partners encouraged other member nations to follow suit.
“The review of the MRC’s Sustainable Hydropower Development Strategy, is aimed at balancing national and regional trade-offs, based on science and economics, with the ultimate goal of realising wider benefits for the people living in the Mekong river basin,” the statement said.
The development partners also welcomed and encouraged MRC’s continued efforts on gender inclusion, reflecting the critical role of women to achieve sustainable development goals.
Specifically, development partners encouraged the MRC to give greater emphasis on poverty reduction in the development of new basin strategies. It is to achieve the MRC’s vision of an economically prosperous, socially just and environmentally sound Mekong river basin.
Jens Lütkenherm, chair of Development Partners Group, said in the meeting that as development partners, they are pleased to see new achievements made by the MRC.
“We’d like to highly congratulate the MRC on these,” he said.
Le Duc Trung, chairperson of the MRC Joint Committee for 2019, welcomed the words of encouragement and suggestions by the development partners.
“We will endeavor to address raised concerns and suggestions as much as we can,” he said.
According to the MRC, the one-day annual Informal Development Partners Meeting held on Thursday provided a platform for the MRC and its development partners to discuss the progress made over the first six months of this year, focusing on implementation of the current strategic plan 2016-2020 and preparation for the next strategic cycle.