04/05/2016 16:06 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Efforts for Sustainable Management and Utilisation of the Mekong River ’s Water Resources

In the context of the ongoing climate change that has exhausted the Mekong River’s water resources, seriously affecting countries in the lower part of the river, especially the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, the establishment of Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) is expected to help countries in the river basin manage and use effectively and sustainably the river’s water resources.
According to the the United Nations, Vietnam is likely to be one of several countries most adversely affected by natural disasters and climate change. In recent years, the Cuu Long River Delta which is consideredthe country’s largest rice, fruit and fisheries producer has suffered droughts and salinity intrusion.

In the first months of 2016, as a result of climate change together with the serious lack of water resources from upstream of the Mekong River, the Cuu Long River, which is located downstream, experienced the most severe drought in the past 100 years, causing damage to the eco-system and affecting the lives of millions of locals.



Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and leaders
of the Greater Mekong sub region countries kick off the Mekong – Lancang Cooperation. Photo: Yen Kien/VNA
Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and leaders of the Greater Mekong sub region countries
attend the first Mekong – Lancang Cooperation Leaders Meeting in Hainan, China. Photo: Yen Kien/VNA


Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang
at the first Mekong – Lancang Cooperation Leaders Meeting in Hainan, China. Photo: Yen Kien/VNA

MLC is the cooperation mechanism between six countries sharing the Mekong River, known as the Lancang in China, which are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, China and Vietnam..
Because of this, leaders of six Mekong Sub-region countries, for the first time, attended the first Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) meeting held in Sanya in China’s Hainan Province on March 23 to discuss directions and measures on the sustainable development of the Mekong Sub-region, including the management and effective and sustainable use of the Mekong River’s water resources.

The birth of MLC also affirmed the commitment of six member states to cooperate for peace, stability and sustainable development in the Mekong sub-region and the region. It is the first time the involved parties reached a consensus on prioritising cooperation in sustainable use and management of water resources in the Mekong River.

Addressing the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh emphasised the need for the six countries to manage and use water resources in the Mekong River scientifically and sustainably. He added that Vietnam supports MLC’s focus on cooperation in water resources, considering this a leading priority.

At the meeting themed “Shared River, Shared Future”, leaders of six countries agreed upon the main principles of MLC, including consensus, equality, coordination, mutual consultancy, volunteering, contributing and sharing interests and respecting the UN charters and international law.

Regarding future cooperation, the leaders agreed to boost cooperation in politics-security, economics and sustainable development together with culture, society and people-to-people exchange.

In the shorter term, MLC will focus on five prioritised fields: water resources, production capacity, cross-border trade, agriculture and poverty reduction.

Acknowledging the role of the MLC for sustainable development and prosperity in the Mekong sub-region, Vietnam proposed three projects which were then added to the list of early harvest projects to be implemented in the initial phase of cooperation.

These projects will bring about practical benefits, suitable to the priorities of MLC, especially the projects on strengthening coordination in coping with floods and droughts in the Mekong-Lancang basin and harmonising standards  and procedures among countries in the region.




Water resources from the Mekong River flow to the rivers of Tien, Hau and thousands
of channels which are the signature of the Cuu Long River Delta.
In the Photo: The Hau River flows through  two provinces of An Giang and Dong Thap. Photo: Duy Khuong/VNA
The Cuu Long River Delta during flood season. Photo: Kim Son/VNP

Earning living on boats in the rivers in  the Cuu Long River Delta. 

Produce sold at a market in the Cuu Long River Delta during flood season. Photo: Kim Son/VNP


The lives of locals in the Cuu Long River Delta on the water.
In the photo: Fish raising cages on the Tien River in Chau Thanh District, Tien Giang Province. Photo: Hoang Hai



Visitors discover life on the water. Photo: Ngoc Ha/VNA

 

At the meeting, Vietnam agreed to coordinate  with China to build  a centre for Mekong-Lancang water resources cooperation to boost collaboration between the six nations in sharing information and data, managing floods and drought and conducting joint studies on water resources in the Mekong River. Vietnam is willing to make financial contributions and send its experts to work at the centre.

According to local statistics,  until April 13,  the total losses caused by drought and salinity in the central southern area, the Central Highlands and the Cuu Long River Delta reached about 5,161 billion dong. Specifically, about 390,000 households suffered a shortage of water. 232,434ha of rice paddies, 17,136ha of crops, 61,992ha of fruit trees, 62,558ha of industrial plants and 4,052ha of aquiculture were damaged.
ASEAN

 


 
By VNA/VNP
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