At the 3rd MRC Summit held in Siem Reap, Cambodia on the 4th of April, prime ministers of the four member countries Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam affirmed their resolve to push Mekong cooperation in order to utilise development opportunities and overcome challenges.
With the theme “’Enhancing Joint Efforts and Partnerships towards Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Mekong River Basin,” the summit also saw the participation of the Minister of Water Resources of China and the Minister of Environment of Myanmar, the two dialogue countries of the MRC, and representatives from other development partners.
The summit reviewed cooperation within the commission and the implementation of commitments made at the second summit in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City in 2014, while identifying priority areas in the next periods.
They agreed to apply the set of procedures of the commission on the sustainable, reasonable and equal use of water resources and other resources of the Mekong River.
They shared the view that the MRC should promote its role in orienting cooperation and setting forth specific measures in order to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the region.
It is necessary to enhance cooperation with mechanisms in and outside the region such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Mekong-Lancang cooperation, the Greater Mekong Sub-Region cooperation and other international river basin management organizations, while encouraging public involvement in these efforts, the summit heard.
The delegates approved the Siem Reap Declaration which acknowledges achievements recorded by the commission, points to opportunities and challenges for the Mekong River Basin and affirms the importance of Mekong cooperation as well as the acceleration of the implementation of the 1995 Mekong Agreement.
The document also outlines priority activities of the commission for the next four years and long-term orientations for cooperation within the commission.
The Mekong Committee was established in 1956, under the auspices of the United Nations to coordinate aid and manage resources in the river basin.
In 1995, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam signed an Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River and set up the MRC, replacing the Mekong Committee.
The MRC holds its summit every four years, starting from 2010. The first MRC summit was held in Hua Hin, Thailand in 2010 and the second one took place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2014.