|The Ministerial Meeting for the 4th Mekong River Commission Summit was held on Tuesday in Laos. — VNA/VNS Photo|
VIENTIANE — Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Lê Công Thành suggested the Mekong River Commission (MRC) focus on practical measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of residents who live on the river’s water resources, while addressing a ministers’ meeting in Vientiane, Laos, on Tuesday.
The meeting took place in preparation for the 4th MRC Summit with the attendance of representatives from member countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Việt Nam, the dialogue partners of China and Myanmar, development partners, and regional and international organisations.
Deputy minister Thành proposed the commission take measures to help people effectively respond to emergencies caused by natural disasters and pandemics, and ensure that water use, both in the mainstream and tributaries of the Mekong River, is put under thorough consideration, not impacting its natural flow as well as development towards stability, safety, and security for riverside communities, regardless of their nations.
He also urged the commission to reform its operational methods, turning itself into a regional centre of knowledge, and provide information, data, and knowledge about the basin, along with consultations for stakeholders and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms in a timely manner.
The commission should build a real-time data sharing system for water facilities, and improve the quality of flood and drought forecasting and warning services, he continued.
The member countries agreed on the Vientiane Declaration, to be submitted to the MRC Summit on April 5. They highly valued the implementation of the Siem Reap Declaration adopted in 2018. It identified challenges, opportunities, orientations and solutions to fruitfully materialise the 1995 Mekong agreement in the coming time.
They suggested the commission revamp methods of cross-border cooperation, information and data sharing, consultancy and monitoring over the Mekong River.
Ambassador Ke Yousheng, Permanent Representative of China to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), highlighted cooperation between the commission and the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation in joint research on the Mekong River’s flow and sharing hydrological information, affirming China’s commitment to continuing its cooperation with the commission in the future.
The participating development partners also pledged to continue working with the commission to successfully achieve strategic goals, enabling the commission to carry out key activities by 2030. — VNS