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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

High-Tech River Management: USAID, MRC Fund Remote Sensing for Mekong Basin

This Week

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has entered into a grant agreement with the Mekong River Commission (MRC), pledging up to USD 5 million for the new “Mekong Basin Partnership.” This collaboration aims to enhance the coordination and management of water and other key natural resources across the Mekong region’s borders.

Key aspects of the agreement include advancing technologies for river basin management through remote sensing and satellite systems. It also involves creating a virtual model of critical Mekong locations to analyze flood and drought impacts.

The signing ceremony, held at the MRC Secretariat in Vientiane on 27 June, highlighted ongoing support from the United States (US) to the region. The funding will support the MRC’s efforts to tackle pressing development challenges outlined in its priority strategies. The Commission will provide technical assistance to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, to improve their data collection and usage for informed decision-making processes.

Additionally, the partnership will engage various stakeholders, including local communities, civil society organizations, the private sector, and development partners. 

In line with USAID’s broader goals, this collaboration directs more development funding to local partners and supports the autonomy and sustainable growth of the Mekong region under the Mekong-US Partnership framework.

Steven G. Olive, Director of USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia, emphasized, “USAID is committed to collaborating with regional leaders […] to address complex challenges, accelerate sustainable development, build climate resilience, and promote economic prosperity.”

Anoulak Kittikhoun, CEO of the MRC, emphasized the agreement’s importance, noting that it signifies USAID’s renewed commitment to the Mekong River Commission and aligns with the MRC’s strategic goals.

“Through this partnership, we can better support our member countries with new data, and tools and foster inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders, contributing to the resilience of the communities that depend on the great Mekong River,” stated Anoulak.

The collaboration between MRC and USAID highlights their shared commitment to sustainable development and regional stability. As the Mekong River faces mounting challenges from climate change, population growth, and infrastructure development, this partnership aims to safeguard the river’s health and resource sustainability.

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