Germany has agreed to provide the Mekong River Commission with $2.2 million in additional funding to increase cross-border water dialogue and cooperation while supporting efforts to monitor transboundary environmental impacts of hydropower dams.
German Ambassador to Lao Jens Lutkenherm on Friday signed the agreement on disbursing the funds with MRC Secretariat CEO An Pich Hatda in Vientiane
It said the funding is meant to help support dialogue, cooperation, planning and management of the Mekong river with Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, including the monitoring of environmental impacts caused by the Xayaburi and Don Sahong hydroelectric dams.
Mr Lutkenherm in a press release said the Mekong river is under increasing pressure from environmental impacts of irrigation, hydropower and water supply projects.
He noted the MRC must continue to monitor and manage basin changes.
“Our additional grant should allow the MRC to fast-track work on assessing such impacts and ensure that the decision-makers in the basin are aware of the consequences and take timely and appropriate actions,” Mr Lutkenherm said.
Mr Pich Hatda agreed.
He said the Mekong river is faced with difficult trade-offs between increased development in the sectors of energy, transport and agriculture.
Mr Pich Hatda said drought this year has brought water levels to their lowest points since June.
“These emerging issues require meticulous and speedy monitoring and reporting for proper basin management,” he said. “Thanks to Germany for making the work possible.”
Germany has been helping to fund the MRC since 1995, providing close to $55 million in technical and financial support.
“This extra funding has brought the German contribution to the MRC to 6.45 million euros for the current strategic plan 2016-2020 and the beginning of the new plan 2021-2025,” the press release said.
Germany in October last year committed about $4.6 million to the MRC to increase dialogue and cooperation on transboundary water resource planning to be gradually given until December 2021.