Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mekong River data sharing key to impact measurement

Mekong River data sharing key to impact measurement

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Fishing boats on the Mekong River in Phnom Penh in January of last year. Heng Chivoan

Mekong River data sharing key to impact measurement

Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology Lim Kean Hor has requested that Mekong River water data be shared to accurately measure the impact of the river’s flow on the social and economic wellbeing of the region.

The request came as he met with Anoulak Kittikhoun, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) CEO, on March 2 as he visited Cambodia and Vietnam to speak face-to-face with top officials about Mekong cooperation.

According to the MRC press release on March 14, Kean Hor articulated the need to monitor and share more hydrological data, to accurately gauge how low or high water flow is affecting the region’s socio-economic wellbeing.

To provide a clearer picture, it said China began sharing its dry-season data in 2020.

“With more data, over a longer period of time, we can establish clear trends, anticipate future patterns and implement an effective early-warning system.With common understanding, we can take more impactful short and medium-term measures,” Kean Hor said in the press release.

Beyond a desire to deepen regional and international partnership, a crucial priority is to expand efforts to monitor and measure how economic development, water-infrastructure projects and climate change – including increases in both floods and droughts – affect the many millions who dwell in the Lower Mekong River Basin, the press statement said.

It added that to better protect Southeast Asia’s largest waterway, the MRC is now making the rounds of the region to hear directly from member countries about their priorities – and especially to minimise growing threats to lives and livelihoods.

Anoulak, the MRC’s first Laotian CEO, said: “These open discussions will help me implement a more impactful programme of work for the basin, closely aligned with regional and national priorities.We must be innovative, as the MRC evolves into a strong regional player equipped with modern technology and state-of-the-art knowledge, providing timely services to the countries and their peoples,” Anoulak said.

The MRC is comprised of the four countries that directly benefit from Mekong-related developments – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam – as well as special status for the two northern neighbours upriver, China and Myanmar. Each of the six has its own national interests, specific priorities and unique challenges, making cooperation complex but rewarding.

Ro Vannak, co-founder of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy, told The Post on March 14 that the Mekong River was at the heart of the political geography of Southeast Asia in the US-China rivalry. The Mekong River became the centre of the strategies of the superpowers due to economic and geopolitical factors.

“What is the most prominent is the importance of the Mekong region’s growth and its geographical location – adjacent to the geopolitical hotspots of the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca,” he said.

“China’s growing activities in the region mean that we know that the Mekong has become a controversial intersection between the West and China, who are competing to influence the countries along its banks for mutual benefit,” Vannak added.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro