The German government has committed about $4.6 million to the Mekong River Commission to increase dialogue and cooperation on transboundary water resource planning with Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, the MRC said yesterday.
In a press release, the MRC said that the funding will be given gradually over a three-year period from January 2019 to December 2021.
The funding will be implemented through the German technical development organisation, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
The MRC said much of the funding will support two joint projects between Cambodia and Laos, and Cambodia and Thailand. The projects seek to better understand and manage Mekong basin resources and address flood and drought issues.
Currently, the projects are in their pilot stages and are supported by Germany through a similar funding mechanism.
Pham Tuan Phan, MRC chief executive officer, said yesterday that the funding will help strengthen the MRC’s efforts to improve integrated and coordinated river basin planning and management at a time when the lower Mekong basin is experiencing rapid development changes.
“The cooperation between Germany and the MRC is expected to serve as an example of how, through the two parties, the Mekong member states can work together at a bilateral level to tackle problems on the ground,” Mr Pham said.
The MRC added that a portion of the grant will also go to the MRC’s new financial system known as “basket fund” to implement overall activities under the strategic plan 2016-2020.
The system allows the MRC to use existing funds for any of its prioritised activities, thus addressing the needs of projects that could benefit 65 million people living around the basin.
“Our financial commitment today will provide additional support to concerted efforts in the Mekong region by the MRC to ensure there is continued dialogue and strong cooperation among the Mekong countries,” said Bertrand Meinier, MRC-GIZ cooperation programme director.
Germany has financed the MRC since 2003 by providing about $36 million in funding.
In more than 15 years, German support has made it possible for the MRC to implement various strategic activities, including institutional reforms, sustainable hydropower management, integrated water resources management, flood mitigation and climate change.
The agreement for the new funding is expected to be signed at the end of this year.