Mekong River Commission summit ends with commitments to sustainable development

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-4-6 17:20:13

The second Summit of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) wrapped up in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City on Saturday after four days of sitting, with key outcomes reached by participants to the event.

The release of the Ho Chi Minh City Declaration was seen as the most significant outcome as it sent out a strong political message from the four member countries of collaboration and their commitments to sustainable development in the Mekong basin.

The document highlighted achievements realized by MRC member countries since the First MRC Summit held in 2010 in Thailand, analyzed opportunities and challenges in the region, reaffirmed priority action areas and commitments as well as figured out MRC strategic orientations for the next period.

Held under the theme "Water, Energy and Food Security under Climate Change in the Mekong Basin," the Second MRC Summit set main objectives including reaffirming the highest commitment of the four member countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, in strengthening regional cooperation for the Mekong River Basin's sustainable development; identifying priority areas in the MRC cooperation framework in the next period, particularly in ensuring water, energy and food security in the context of climate change.

During the four-day summit, from Wednesday to Saturday, which consisted of the official summit and sideline events, participants discussed about opportunities and challenges of the Mekong basin and roles of Mekong River Commission in a new era. They also shared experiences on regional cooperation to promote sustainable use and development of the Mekong River under conditions of increased demand on natural resources for development and climate change.

At the pre-summit conference on "Cooperation for Water, Energy, and Food Security in Trans-boundary Basins under Changing Climate," Zhong Young, director general of Department of International Cooperation, Science and Technology at China's Ministry of Water Resources, said that China, which shares rivers directly with 13 countries, wants co-operation with these countries.

He said China has set up multiple trans-boundary river co- operation mechanisms with neighboring countries, including Vietnam, which have promoted exchanges and co-operation in providing hydrological data during the flood season, flood control, protection of water resources, and others.

The Lancang-Mekong River links six riparian countries closely. China is ready to enhance co-operation with downstream countries to jointly cope with the water, energy, and food security challenges facing the greater Mekong sub-region in the context of global climate change, Zhong said.

On the sidelines of a preparatory session for the second MRC Summit on Friday, Hans Guttman, CEO of the MRC Secretariat, said Vietnam has taken the lead in implementing the Agreement on Mekong Cooperation, while remaining active in settling differences existing in the commission.

At the plenary session of the summit themed "Water, Energy and Food Security in the context of climate change for the Mekong River Basin," Prime Minister Dung highlighted the significance of the event, which aims to prepare for the 20th anniversary of the Agreement on Mekong Cooperation in 2015.

Vietnam attaches much attention to the stable and sustainable development in the basin as well as climate change response, and hopes to boost cooperation with other countries in the region to promote the international role of the commission, said the Vietnamese prime minister.

At the press conference after the summit concluded on Saturday, Nguyen Tan Dung said the second Mekong River Commission (MRC) Summit was a success with the most important outcome being the approval of the Ho Chi Minh City Declaration.

Through the statement, the MRC members continued to declare their solidarity and high commitment to the 1995 Mekong Agreement as well as other processes of the commission, he said, adding that MRC member countries pledged to further bolster the intra-bloc cooperation and enhance the international role of the commission towards the target of sustainable management and use of the river's water resources, ensuring water, food and energy security in the river basin.

As the host country, Vietnam actively coordinated with the MRC Secretariat and the members to prepare for the summit, while contributing to the building of the summit agenda and discussion content, said the prime minister.

The second MRC Summit gathered heads of governments of the four member countries of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, and delegations from China and Myanmar besides more than 300 senior representatives of some 20 international river basins and aquifers from all continents, and more than 20 international sponsors.

The MRC is an inter-government body charged to promote and co- ordinate sustainable management and development of water and related resources for the countries' mutual benefit and the people's well-being by implementing strategic programs and activities and providing scientific information and policy advice.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

blog comments powered by Disqus