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Germany, EU roll out funding to accelerate lower Mekong projects

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A sunset view across Cambodia's Mekong River last year. Heng Chivoan

Germany, EU roll out funding to accelerate lower Mekong projects

Germany and the EU continue to grant new funding, worth €8.92 million ($10.15 million), to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to enhance the Mekong cross-border water cooperation among the lower Mekong countries – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, said an MRC press release The Post received on Thursday.

Jens Lutkenherm, German Ambassador to Laos, signed a €4 million agreement with MRC Secretariat CEO Pham Tuan Phan on Wednesday in Halong city, Vietnam.

Spanning over a three-year period from next year to 2021, much of the funding will go to support two joint transboundary projects between Cambodia and Laos, 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 2016-2020 strategic plan.

The mechanism allows the MRC to use funds

EU Ambassador to Thailand Pirkka Tapiola on Wednesday signed a new financial agreement worth €4.92 million.

Running over a two-year period from next year to 2020, the funding goes to support the implementation of the MRC 2016-2020 strategic plan.

The primary aim of the support is to promote and coordinate sustainable development and management of the Mekong river water and related resources in the four member countries.

Quoting from the media release, Pham said that: “The new funding from both Germany and EU 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.”

In preparation to implement the five-year strategic plan, the MRC will focus its work in 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 more efficient river basin organisation.

The EU has funded the MRC with more than €11 million since 2003 for many important areas of work, including flood resolution, climate change, institutional reforms and integrated water resource management.

At the same time, Germany has financed the MRC since 2003, providing some €31 million in funding.

Over 15 years, 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.

The MRC is an intergovernmental organisation for regional dialogue and cooperation in the lower Mekong river basin, established in 1995 based on the Mekong Agreement between Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

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