Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc will lead a Vietnamese delegation to attend the third Mekong River Commission (MRC) Summit in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from April 4-5 at the invitation of Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen.
The event, themed “Joint Efforts and Partnership towards the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Mekong”, will create an opportunity for countries to review the operation of the MRC over the past four years and work to realise sustainable development goals.
Việt Nam has actively participated in regional and international organisations such as the MRC, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Forum. This stands alongside participation in the United Nations (UN), the World Water Forum (WWF), the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the International Rivers (IR). The country also has enhanced co-operation with department partners such as the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to enhance effective management of water resources in the Mekong River.
Việt Nam hosted the second MRC in HCM City in April 2014. In 2015, the country held a panel discussion on water security within the framework of the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU-132) in March, and an international workshop calling for joint actions in water resources management as part of the Asia-Europe Meeting in June that year.
Within the MRC framework, Việt Nam has worked with member countries to push the MRC Joint Committee to issue a statement on prior consultation for the Pak Beng hydropower project, calling on the Laos government to step up measures to mitigate the cross-border impacts of the project.
With the support of Lao and Cambodian experts, Việt Nam completed a study on the impacts of Mekong mainstream hydropower on the Mekong Delta in 2015 and joint research on sustainable development and management of the Mekong River basin in 2017.
In April 2014, Việt Nam became the 35th member of the 1997 UN Convention on Non-Navigation Uses of International Watercourses. Việt Nam was the first country in the MRC to join the convention, which came into force in August 2014.
Việt Nam is currently persuading other ASEAN member nations to join the convention to strengthen legal mechanisms to facilitate the management and sustainable development of water resources in the Mekong River.
The country has also promoted the protection and effective use of water resources in regional cooperation mechanisms such as the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), the US Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), the Mekong-Japan Co-operation (MJ), the Mekong-Korea Co-operation and the Mekong-Lancang Co-operation.
The 4,800km-long Mekong River flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Việt Nam. Its basin spreads over 795,000 square kilometres with 65 million people in the four countries of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Việt Nam living in its proximity.
The Mekong Committee was established in 1956 under the auspices of the UN to co-ordinate aid and manage resources in the river basin. In 1995, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Việt Nam signed an Agreement on the Co-operation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River and set up the MRC as a replacement for the Mekong Committee.
The MRC holds its summit every four years. The first MRC summit was held in Hua Hin, Thailand in 2010 and the second one took place in HCM City, Việt Nam in 2014. — VNS