It brought together 120 delegates from the council’s four member countries of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The commission’s dialogue partners – China and Myanmar, and nearly 25 development partners also sent representatives to the event.
Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, who is also Chairman of the MRC Council for 2018 and Chairman of the Vietnam National Mekong Committee, said the MRC has fulfilled its mission of serving socio-economic development of the member countries over the past more than two decades.
With solidarity and high resolve of the member countries, and valuable and continuous support from the development and dialogue partners, as well as other relevant sides, the commission has reaped significant achievements, he said.
He applauded the important role of the dialogue partners in managing water resources in the Mekong River basin and the great financial and technical support of the development partners to the MRC which, he said, helps the commission realise tasks set in its Strategic Plan.
The meeting reviewed the commission’s operation in 2018, and agreed on a work plan for 2019, while assessing the mid-term implementation of the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, the realisation of the action plan of the Pak Beng hydropower project and the update on the Design Guidance 2018.
Within the framework of the event, meetings were held between the MRC and its dialogue and development partners, during which both China and Myanmar affirmed that they stand ready to cooperate with the commission.
China said it will continue to cooperate with the MRC in the exchange of information and data as well as experts, promote joint technical research with the commission, and enhance collaboration within the framework of the Mekong-Langkang Cooperation.
The development partners also pledged to further their collaboration and financial and technical support to the MRC in 2019 and the years to come.
On this occasion, the MRC signed two sponsorship agreements with the development partners, under which the EU committed EUR4.82 million (US$5.4 million) in support of the commission’s operation during the 2016-2020 period.
The German Government also pledged to grant EUR4 million to the MRC, through the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GIZ), to enhance cross-border partnerships in water resources at the Mekong River basin in the 2019-2021 period.
The next MRC Council’s meeting is scheduled to be held in late 2019 in Cambodia which will take over the Chairmanship from Vietnam.