Cambodia has called for enhanced international partnerships to tackle pressing issues in the Mekong basin, such as declining water levels, reduced fish stocks and the reverse flow into the Tonle Sap Lake.

The plea was made at the 2nd Mekong-South Korea International Water Forum, held from September 7-8 in Incheon, South Korea.

An Pich Hatda, secretary of state for the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, led the Cambodian delegation to the meeting to discuss the challenges faced by countries in the basin. He emphasised the need to protect the Tonle Sap, a vital water source for the Kingdom, and urged for responsible and sustainable development across the region.

“In the face of these difficulties, increased transnational support and cooperation are essential,” he was cited as saying in a ministry social media post on September 9.

Separately, Hatda, a former chief executive officer (CEO) of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) secretariat, conducted four bilateral discussions with incumbent CEO Anoulak Kittikhoun and other partners. These included representatives from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water).

During the talks, Hatda outlined the priorities for the new Cambodian government and his ministry alike. These include cost-effective hydro-meteorological mechanisms, modern decision support frameworks and national systems for weather, flood and drought forecasting.

“Our partners expressed their readiness to support our goals,” the ministry added.