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The Fifteenth Meeting of the MRC Council



H.E. Noulinh Sinhbandit
Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister's Office
Vice Chairman of the Lao National Mekong Committee
Head Delegation of the Lao PDR

Session 2: Joint Meeting with the MRC Donor Consultative Group
Mekong River Commission
7-8 November 2008
Vientiane, Lao PDR


Excellency Madame Khempheng Pholsena
Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office
Head of Water Resources and Environment Administration of Lao PDR
Chairperson of Lao National Mekong Committee
Chairperson of the MRC Council for 2008/2009

Excellency Mr. Lim Kean Hor
Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology of Cambodia
Chairman of Cambodia National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia

Excellency Mrs. Anongwan Thepsutin
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand
Chairperson of Thai National Mekong Committee
Member of the MRC council for Thailand

Excellency Mr. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam
Head of Delegation of Viet Nam

Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me a great honor and pleasure to participate in the Fifteenth Meeting of MRC Council being held in Vientiane and have an opportunity to deliver my statements in this meeting. On behalf of the host country, I would like to convey my warm welcome to all distinguished Members of the MRC Council, delegates from the MRC member countries, representatives of the Union of Myanmar, development partners, observers and staff of the MRC Secretariat. On this occasion, I would like to express my sincere thanks to H.E Lim Kean Hor for his efforts and guidance to the MRC’s works during his Chairmanship of the MRC Council for 2007/2008. Under his Chairmanship, works of the MRC have been accomplished in many areas toward the MRC’s goals set in our strategic plan.

At the same time, I also would like to express my sincere congratulations to Mr. Jeremy Bird for his appointment as a new Chief Executive Officer of the MRC Secretariat; I certainly hope that under his leadership, the MRC Secretariat will move forward to accomplish its mission of sustainable development in the Mekong River Basin.

Distinguished Delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The MRC has been formed to promote integrated and balanced water resources management among its member countries which built on the 1995 Mekong Agreement, by cooperating different needs of member countries in water resources management and development through process of dialogue and integrated planning system. With growing demands for development hampered with many stakeholders involvement in the Mekong River Basin Development, the potential of trans-boundary issues in utilizing these resources can be greatly diminished and desirably avoided through the process of stakeholder consultation. Therefore, the MRC as an international river basin organization has very important roles to play in water resources utilization in the Mekong River Basin.

To enable the MRC to perform its tasks, the priority target is to strengthen the capacity of the MRC Secretariat, National Mekong Committee Secretariats and concerned line agencies. Process of communication needed to be strengthened to provide a good platform for dialogue and information.. Recent floods of last August have proved that MRC communication approach needed to be improved.

Distinguish Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The government of Lao PDR as well as the Lao national Mekong Committee always has strong commitment in the Mekong Cooperation and the 1995 Mekong Agreement. Since the Mekong river basin covers more than 90 percent of Lao PDR’s territory and Lao PDR is contributing more than 35 percent to the annual flow in the Mekong River, so it is very important that the MRC plans and programmes must be reflected the national plans, priorities and the needs of the country. To achieve these objectives, the Lao National Planning Agencies as well as Planning Agencies at the provincial level are greatly involved in the development of MRC programmes and MRC basin development plan.

The Lao National Mekong Committee strongly supports the riparianization of the MRC Secretariat being undertaken at present. However, the riparianization process should not aim only on the ownership of the MRC Secretariat, but also strengthening the MRC Secretariat to be able efficiently implement the MRC programmes and projects to achieve our goals and objectives in order to build up trusts and gain supports from our development partners. Recommendations in the report of the organizational review would provide good guidance for the improvement of the MRC Secretariat as well as National Mekong Committee and concerned line agencies.

The year 2008, has been significant for the MRC, our financial situation has been strengthened to achieve a high level of financial surplus, and the administrative reserve fund has been accumulated more than US $ 800,000 which we never have this kind of experience in the past six years. This indicates that, now we have a sound financial management at the MRC Secretariat, I hope that this sound financial management would be continued. The Lao National Mekong Committee acknowledges with appreciation that there are some progress on implementation of the MRC Work Programme 2008. However, progress in many programme activities appeared slower than envisaged. The MRC Secretariat should have a systematic method of gathering and sharing information on the results, performance, outcomes and impacts of the programme activities. Sometime, the MRC programme progress reports are often only narrative activity-based reports, with progress measured by budget expenditures without assessment of the achievement of the tangible outcomes. So, the Lao National Mekong Committee strongly supports to put in place an effective monitoring and evaluation system as recommended by the organizational review report.

The Lao National Mekong Committee appreciates the joint initiatives of ADB and the World Bank on Mekong Water Resources Partnership Programme in which to my understanding that would supplement to the MRC Strategic Plan and proving financial support for investment in the Basin as identified through integrated planning process of the MRC Basin Development Plan.

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

To conclude my statement, I strongly hope that this fifteenth meeting of the MRC Council would pave the way for the MRC to play the major role in the Mekong River Basin Development and to highlight the profile of the MRC as the river organization for sustainable development and management in the Mekong River Basin.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the MRC Secretariat and the Lao National Mekong Committee Secretariat for an excellent logistic arrangement extended to this Fifteenth Meeting of the MRC Council.

Thank you very much for your kind atte



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