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Mekong River Commission (MRC)
Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre (RFMMC)
6th Annual Mekong Flood Forum (AMFF-6)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
27-28 May 2008


Opening Address
H.E Mr. Sin Niny
Vice Chairman of Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Joint Committee for Cambodia


Dr. Armand Evers, First Secretary, Integrated Water Resources Management, Royal Netherlands Embassy, Hanoi-Vietnam;
Mr Jeremy Bird, Chief Executive Officer of the MRCS;
Donors, Partners and International Organisations Representatives;
Distinguished Delegates;
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my great pleasure and privilege to attend this important Sixth Annual Mekong Flood Forum, organised by the Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre of the Mekong River Commission, and marking another key advancement in the Centre’s operation.

On this auspicious occasion I would like to extend a warm welcome to all distinguished delegates, donor representatives, international organisations, MRC partners and our dialogue partners from the upstream countries, China and Myanmar, who will present their own experiences of the 2007 flood season later today.

Let me also take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to Mr Bird, who started as the new Chief Executive Officer of the MRC Secretariat in April of this year on the occasion of the celebration of the twelfth anniversary of the MRC during the inauguration ceremony of the Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre’s building

Today’s Forum is the sixth such event to discuss progress made and the state of flood forecasting and warning systems at national and regional levels in the Lower Mekong Basin. We are gathered here today to learn from each other and from international adopted integrated approaches and applicable systems used in the improvement of medium-term flood forecasting and warning services.

The theme of this year’s forum “Integrated approaches and applicable systems for medium-term flood forecasting and early warning in the Mekong River Basin” reflects the current needs and great joint efforts made by the governments of the MRC member countries—Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam—in managing and mitigating floods in the Lower Mekong Basin. This theme is chosen in close consultation with the member states, based on their requirements with respect to flood forecasting and early warning by the MRC Regional Flood Centre.

The rapid population growth in the region, urbanisation, intensification of agriculture, changes in land use and river morphology, and rapid technology development require present flood forecasting to be improved. More accuracy and longer lead time are needed, and these must be based on better data inputs and modern technology and tools. Flood forecasting and warning is a complex task and significant damage reduction can only be achieved if the whole range of necessary flood forecasting and warning activities is implemented and well coordinated, starting from a high-quality database and information, competent and qualified human resources, state-of-the-art supporting tools and models, and appropriate communication technologies for warning dissemination.

The MRC Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre, aware of the strong desire among the member countries for improved operational flood forecasting, has been taking on the challenge of increasing forecast accuracy and timing. Real progress has been made over the past year, and steps are already in place to continue this advance over the forthcoming flood season.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the next two days, we will hear both plenary and parallel topic presentations and discussions on the current state of upgrading and improvement of flood forecasting and warning systems at both national and regional levels. It is my sincere hope that the results of this Forum will be used and applied by the MRC Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre and the member countries in their pursuit of reliable and dependable medium-term flood forecasting and early warning.

Based upon outcomes of this Forum, the MRC and the member countries, line agencies, and national, international and civil society organisations, will gain a better understanding of and insight into the progress of data collection and sharing. We will learn about the new Mekong River Flood Forecasting System, which will enable operational flood forecasting six to ten days in advance of events on the mainstream of the Mekong River, and will allow us to better address the flood aspects of human security.

During the Forum you will also be able to learn from the experience and best practices of international organisations, academic institutions, and civil society organisations on data collection and exchange for flood forecasting, and the database hardware and software used for data storage and processing. Gatherings such as this strengthen and enhance cooperation among the international community.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am confident that this Forum will produce solid conclusions and set recommendations for further action to attain our common goals. I would like to express my profound gratitude and sincere thanks to the governments of the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Japan and the United States, and to the Asian Development Bank and the European Commission for their continuing support for the MRC’s Flood Management and Mitigation Programme.

To conclude my opening address, I would like to declare the Sixth Annual Mekong Flood Forum open. I hope that every participant has the opportunity to make a fruitful and productive contribution, and that all of you enjoy a pleasant stay in Phnom Penh, here at the heart of the Mekong River Basin.

Thank you.



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