The Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat and China’s Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Centre (LMWRCC) on Tuesday signed their first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for better management of the Mekong River.
It was inked at the Ministerial Meeting of the LMWRCC in Beijing by MRC Secretariat chief executive officer An Pich Hatda and LMWRCC secretary-general Zhong Yong in the presence of ministers of the six Lancang-Mekong countries.
The Mou will see both sides working together on the management and development of resources from the river to promote sustainable social and economic development for the Lancang-Mekong countries, said a press release.
“The exchange of data and information, monitoring river basins, and joint assessments of Mekong water resources, and other related resources are important activities that will benefit from the partnership between the two parties,” the MRC Secretariat said.
“The MoU represents our joint and concerted efforts to uplift cooperation between China and the lower Mekong countries as we seek to ensure effective upper and lower Mekong river basin management for future sustainability and shared benefits,” Pich Hatda said as quoted in the press release.
Zhong said after the signing that the MoU will “contribute to livelihood improvement and better socio-economic development in the Lancang-Mekong River basin,” adding that it will also “bring the LMWRCC and the MRC Secretariat much closer and create synergy in regional water resources cooperation”.
The press release said the first phase of the agreement will see the LMWRCC and the MRC Secretariat undertake joint studies on this year’s drought and the reducing water levels in the Mekong River Basin covering both the Lower Mekong River and Upper Mekong Basin in China.
The MRC Secretariat forecasted a severe drought last month for the countries along the Mekong River lasting from November to January.
It warned that Cambodia would face more severe drought conditions than neighbouring Laos and Vietnam which will worsen until January, with Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear and Siem Reap provinces expected to be worst hit.
Cambodia National Mekong Committee permanent vice-chairman Te Navuth could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
“Our primary goal is to provide faster reactions to address emerging changes such as climate change or sudden water release from reservoirs in the Lancang-Mekong river basin, track the state of the basin and development, and strengthen one of the MRC’s key roles as the regional knowledge hub,” Pich Hatda said as quoted on the MRC’s website in March.