The 26th meeting of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Council was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 26 November. The Vietnamese delegation was led by the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and Standing Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Mekong Committee, Le Cong Thanh, and included representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of the Government.
Several important decisions were made during the meeting, including the approval of the MRC Work Program 2020-2021 and the Drought Management Strategy 2020-2025, the MRC Strategic Plan for 2021-2025, and the Sustainable Hydropower Development Strategy. In regard to implementation, Deputy Minister Le Cong Thanh suggested that the Commission should concentrate all resources to implement the following priority activities:
- Firstly, to actively prepare for updating the IWRM (integrated water resource management) -based Basin Development Strategy (2021-2030) based on lessons learned from implementation of the current Strategy (2016-2020), and on the challenges and urgent requirements of the basin.
- Secondly, to further strengthen the existing hydro-meteorological and water resources monitoring network for the basin, especially expediting progress in establishing new joint environmental monitoring on the impacts of mainstream hydropower projects and sharing environment data and information with the Member Countries.
- Thirdly, to promote the use of renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuels or hydropower energy. This includes proactively conducting an assessment of the potential of renewable energy development and utilization in the region, as well as the exploration of cooperation mechanisms for renewable energy development and utilization, thereby contributing to sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin.
- Fourthly, to continue to expand cooperation with dialogue partners and development partners, regional and international initiatives, including the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation, the Lower Mekong Initiatives, other regional and international cooperation frameworks.
The MRC is an intergovernmental organization for regional dialogue and cooperation in the Lower Mekong River Basin. The Commission was established in 1995 based on the Mekong Agreement between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam. The organization serves as a regional platform for water diplomacy as well as a knowledge hub for water resources management for sustainable development of the region.