Vientiane Times, April 7, 2014
Leaders from Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand have adopted the Ho Chi Minh City Declaration at the second Summit of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), reflecting their commitments to sustainable development in the Mekong basin.
The summit concluded in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday, which was attended by four MRC member countries as well as delegations from China and Myanmar and other development partners.
Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong led a high-level Lao delegation to the summit which was held under the theme “Water, Energy and Food Security under Climate Change in the Mekong Basin.”
Mr Thongsing also delivered his remarks at the summit, saying that Laos always attached great importance towards the principles of sustainable development and following the strategy for Mekong basin development for 2011-15.
He said the second Summit took place while the world is facing challenges and climate changes, affecting livelihoods of people globally.
Over the past years, Laos has experienced severe flooding, landslides and other storms due to climate change. These disasters have destroyed crops and properties of people and public facilities of the nation.
During the summit, leaders discussed several key priority areas including the best ways in which the MRC can promote its effectiveness and ownership by Member Countries by 2030 and reinvigorate regional cooperation in the trans-boundary management of water and related resources ahead of the establishment of an Asean economic community by 2015.
The participants discussed opportunities and challenges of the Mekong basin and roles of Mekong River Commission in a new era, as well as shared experiences on regional cooperation, to promote sustainable use and development of the Mekong River under conditions of increased demand on natural resources for development and climate change.
Moreover the summit reviewed the Hua Hin declaration relating to water management and basin development before discussing the priority areas for cooperation until 2018.
According to a Xinhua report, China has set up multiple trans-boundary river co-operation mechanisms with neighbouring countries, including Vietnam, which have promoted exchanges and co-operation in providing hydrological data during the flood season, flood control, protection of water resources, and others.
China is ready to enhance co-operation with downstream countries to jointly cope with the water, energy, and food security challenges facing the greater Mekong sub-region in the context of global climate change.
Meanwhile Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung addressed the press conference after the summit concluded on Saturday. He said the MRC members continued to declare their solidarity and commitment to the 1995 Mekong Agreement as well as other processes of the comm ission.
The MRC is an inter-governmental body charged to promote a nd co-ordinate sustainable management and development of water and related resources for the countries’ mutual benefit and the people’s well-being by implementing strategic programs and activities and providing scientific information and policy advice.