Vientiane, Lao PDR —The Swedish government today provided US$ 8.5 million to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to strengthen its management and development of water and related resources in the Lower Mekong Basin.
Reaffirming Sweden’s partnership with the organisation, the funding will support the operation of five MRC Programmes and institutional arrangements covering a period of three-and-a-half years until the end of 2015.
Sweden has been a long-time partner with the MRC. The majority of this new financial support, provided through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), will cover MRC Programmes and activities Sweden has supported before. These include the Basin Development Plan Programme, the Environment Programme and the Fisheries Programme and institutional operations such as communications, stakeholder engagement and the decentralisation of the MRC’s core functions.
Through this new funding, Sida also expands its assistance to two more Programmes—the Climate Change Adaptation Initiative and the Flood Management and Mitigation Programme.
The support is in line with the MRC’s Strategic Plan 2011-2015 that captures the future needs of the Basin and a way forward on how to address key challenges in the sustainable development of the lower Mekong basin.
“Sweden’s support comes at a critical moment as the MRC is going through a transition period towards greater decentralisation of its core river basin management functions,” said Hans Guttman, Chief Executive Officer of the MRC.
In addition to Programme activities and management, this support will also strengthen the MRC’s promotion of regional dialogue on water and related resources management and development, said Mr. Guttman.
“This support will assist the MRC to bring about greater stakeholder engagement and better promote gender equality through our integrated water resources management approach,” added the MRC CEO.
Mr. Guttman signed an agreement for the financial support with AnnaMaria Oltorp, Head of Development Cooperation Section at the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok, at the signing ceremony at the MRC Secretariat.
“The MRC plays a critical role in water governance and management in the region with commitment from the highest political level of its Member Countries. Sweden is looking forward to continued fruitful cooperation with this important regional platform that addresses some key issues of concern for sustainable development in the Mekong region,” said Mrs. Oltorp.
Notes to editor:
The MRC is the intergovernmental body responsible for cooperation on the sustainable management of the Mekong Basin whose members include Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. In dealing with this challenge, the commission looks across all sectors including sustaining fisheries, identifying opportunities for agriculture, maintaining freedom of navigation, flood management and preserving important ecosystems.
For more information, please contact:
Mr Surasak Glahan, Communication Officer
Tel: +856 263 263 or +856 20 555 28726 (Vientiane mobile number)