Opening Address by
H.E. Mr Asang Laoly
Vice Prime Minister of the Lao PDR
Mekong River Commission Secretariat
Vientiane, Lao PDR
5 April 2005
On behalf of the Government and People of the Lao PDR, I am delighted and honoured to welcome the delegations from MRC riparian countries, Excellencies Ambassadors to Lao PDR, distinguished guests from different organisations and ministries, and officers of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat here today to participate in the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Agreement on Cooperation for Sustainable Development in Mekong River Basin in front of this beautiful MRC Secretariat building.
The 5th of April can be viewed as a historic day for our sub region, as this was the day the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin was ratified in Chiang Rai, Thailand and the Mekong River Commission was established.
This agreement has become another milestone in the history of our cooperation in the Lower Mekong Basin. It demonstrates our solidarity and the will of the four riparian countries in continuing their cooperation in the development and preservation of water resources and natural resources in the Mekong River Basin in a concrete manner and one which will be in the interests of prosperity in our region and the well being of our beloved Mekong people.
Although, the agreement was implemented 10 years ago, it is worth recalling the history of Mekong cooperation. The Kingdom of Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and the Kingdom of Thailand were members of the Mekong Committee since 1957. During that period we recorded many achievements in many aspects, however, these achievements were not enough to fulfil our overall goals arising from different needs in our region. However these achievements paved the way to strengthen our cooperation, which is based on a mutual understanding, and will bring bigger results since all Mekong Riparian countries are members of the Association of South East Asia Nations or ASEAN.
The Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin can also be viewed as a result of the past cooperation of Mekong riparian countries
On behalf of the Government of the Lao PDR, I should like to express my sincerest gratitude for the important achievements made by Mekong River Commission during the past 10 years. These have become an important factor in encouraging all riparian governments to put more effort into regional cooperation which will produce concrete results within our region and to build trust with our donors, international organisations and financial institutions. Support from these organisations is continuing strongly.
The past decade has been a decade of improving our strength in many ways, especially institutionally, in basin development planning, in developing water procedures, building human resources and becoming a financially secure organisation.
However, the it will be hard for the Lower Mekong Basin to cope with the growing demands for water resources and water related resources. I see that we need to accelerate our operations, especially in the hydropower sector, agriculture and forestry, irrigation, navigation, flood and drought management and tourism. Therefore, I should like to urge all of you to speed up the strengthening of cooperation ties, so we can move forward in our goals to eradicate poverty and move closer to other developed countries in the region.
I have agreed with the MRC on some work issues that now need closer attention and call on them to:
In supporting these issues, the government of the Lao PDR is keen to keep expanding our cooperation within the framework of MRC as well as the Greater Mekong Sub region. In future, we wish to see the Mekong River as the River of Peace and cooperation within the region, a river which meets all needs.
Our country intends to put in every effort to optimise the use of the Mekong River and its tributaries, which stretch over our country, in sustainable manner. One way is through: hydropower development projects which not only aim to serve our internal demands, but also those of our neighbours.
On this auspicious occasion, I should like to express my sincere thanks to all distinguished guests for attending this 10th anniversary celebration of the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin. Your participation in this celebration has shown your implied your hospitality and your will in supporting the Mekong activities.
I should like to thank H.E Mr Somphong Mongkhonvilay, Chairman of the MRC Council for 2004/2005 and Dr. Olivier Cogels, Chief Executive Officer of Mekong River Commission Secretariat for the logistical arrangement. On this auspicious occasion, I now, declare the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin opened.