The government of the Netherlands has granted US$2.17 million (Bt76.4 million) to the Mekong River Commission in support of its MRC Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 including the Flood Management and Mitigation Initial Studies.
The agreement was signed by Dr Pham Tuan Phan, chief executive officer of the MRC Secretariat, and Karin Roelofs of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.
The grant contributes to the MRC basket fund for the implementation of MRC priorities, with one-third earmarked to finalise the Flood Management and Mitigation Initial Studies. The Initial Studies are to demonstrate the formulation of strategic directions to manage existing, future and residual flood risks in selected areas of the Lower Mekong Basin.
“We are glad to welcome the Netherlands back to the MRC as an active development partner after five years,” Phan said. “The MRC appreciates [its] support for the MRC flood management and mitigation activities [from 2002-2012.
“Through this new funding, the MRC will be able not only to finalise the Initial Studies but also to conduct other works of high priority in the Strategic Plan.”
During this strategic cycle of 2016-2020, the MRC will focus its work on four key result areas: strengthening regional cooperation, improving monitoring and communication of conditions in the basin, enhancing national plans and projects, and turning the MRC into a leaner, more effective river-basin organisation.
In an effort to increase water efficiency in agriculture, the MRC will also strengthen its cooperation with the Netherlands in optimising water use in agricultural production within the basin.
Roelofs said: “Through this contribution, the Netherlands emphasises its hopes that a restructured MRC will play an active role in the sustainable development of the Mekong Basin, especially as a broker of impartial knowledge and data.
“We hope that our renewed engagement will help balance the needs of the most vulnerable segments of societies in the basin, and the important ecosystem services the Mekong provides, with the economic opportunities it offers.”
The Netherlands has contributed more than $16 million to the MRC since 1997 for activities related to wetland biodiversity and flood management and mitigation.