(KPL) The Mekong River Commission (MRC) and the government of Germany and the European Union on Nov 28 signed agreements worth EUR 8.92 million, approx. US$10 million, to enhance Mekong cross-border water cooperation, at the sidelines of the 25th Meeting of the MRC Council.
The new funding agreement with Germany, worth EUR 4 million, approx. US$ 4.6 million, was signed by MRC Secretariat CEO Pham Tuan Phan and German Ambassador to the Lao PDR Jens Lutkenherm, following the German commitment made in October this year.
The German support aims to increase dialogue and cooperation on transboundary water resource planning and management among the lower Mekong countries Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam who are members of the MRC.
Spanning over a three-year period from 2019 to 2021, much of the funding will go to support two joint transboundary projects between Cambodia and the Lao PDR, and Cambodia and Thailand. The projects seek to better understand and manage the Mekong basin resources and address flood and drought issues.
A portion of the grant will also go to the MRC’s financial mechanism known as the basket fund to implement overall activities under the strategic plan 2016-2020.
The mechanism allows the MRC to use funds for any of its prioritized activities, thus addressing emerging needs timely and improving the implementation of activities that benefit more than 65 million people in the basin.
With the European Union, the new financial agreement, worth EUR 4.92 million, approx. US$ 5.55 million, was signed by CEO Pham and Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand Pirkka Tapiola.
Running over a two-year period from 2019 to 2020, the funding goes to support the implementation of the MRC strategic plan 2016-2020.
The primary aim of the support is to promote and coordinate sustainable development and management of the Mekong water and related resources in the four member countries.
The new funding from both Germany and the European Union will enable the MRC to ensure effective basin-wide water resources management and the inclusiveness of dialogue at the national and regional levels with a stronger representation of all relevant stakeholders, said CEO Pham Tuan Phan.
During this strategic cycle of 2016-2020, the MRC focuses its work on four key result areas such as strengthening regional cooperation, improving monitoring and communication of conditions in the basin, enhancing national plans and projects; and turning the MRC into a leaner, more efficient river basin organization.
The European Union has funded the MRC more than EUR 11 million or approximately US$12.7 million since 2003 on many important areas of work, including flood, climate change, institutional reforms and integrated water resources management.
Germany has financed the MRC since 2003, providing some EUR 31 million or US$ 36 million of funding.
Over 15 years, the German support has made it possible for the MRC to implement various strategic activities, including institutional reforms, sustainable hydropower development, integrated water resources management, flood mitigation, and climate change.
Source: Lao News Agency