2nd MRC Summit and International Conference: Spotlights on water, energy and food security

The conference brought together more than 300 experts in international water resources management, including a number of CEOs and other high level representatives of international River Basin Organizations, to discuss the benefits of transboundary river basin management, especially in light of achieving the MDGs and strengthening the role of water in the SDGs, in times of climate change.

The ICPDR Executive Secretary Ivan Zavadsky presented approaches from the Danube River Basin on climate change adaptation, hydropower and the implications for food security in a keynote speech.

The national leaders present at the conference aimed to reaffirm the trans-boundary cooperation amongst the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Member Countries. They also used the opportunity of the conference to highlight progress the MRC has made since the first Summit held four years ago.

Economic and infrastructure development in the Mekong River Basin is accelerating,  including hydropower facilities and water diversion for increased irrigation, navigation and aquaculture. At the same time, the Mekong water resources are invaluable for its fishery - the largest inland fishery in the world -, for river transportation, and for wetlands and flood plains that provide livelihoods for millions of people, particularly the poor.

The region is facing rapid population growth, urbanisation and industrial expansion, increasing demand for energy, food and water against a backdrop of climate change and depleting natural resources.

Danube River Basin experience was highly regarded by the conference participants. Many speakers referred in their presentations and interventions to the ICPDR as globally recognised best practice in transboundary river basin management and in the IWRM, in particular to the progress made in the cross-sector cooperation  between water, environment and hydropower and inland navigation sectors.

The ICPDR Goodwill Ambassador Fritz Holzwarth, who also delivered a keynote on water, energy and food security nexus in transboundary basins pointed out that the ICPDR is an efficient international river basin organisation promoting multi-state cooperation in sustainable use of  water resources and a water-energy nexus.

The main messages of the conference are summarized in a conference statement which could be found here. The conference  statement is expected to guide the international community when discussing important topics such as the SDGs or new approaches to climate change adaptation, especially with regards to the importance of transboundary cooperation in achieving sustainable and climate-sensitive water resources management.

In the Ho Chi Minh Declaration, adopted on April 5, 2014, “Water, Energy and Food security in the context of climate change for the Mekong River Basin” the Heads of the MRC Governments reaffirmed  the importance of the sustainable use and management of the water and related resources of the Mekong River Basin, and their political commitment to implement the 1995 Mekong Agreement and   recognised the achievements made since the last Summit.

The Heads of Government agree to task the MRC Council to ensure the effective implementation of the Declaration through practical programmes and projects. The Third MRC Summit will take place in 2018 in Cambodia.

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. It is established to promote cooperation amongst the Member Countries and thus it is not a supra-national or regulatory body.

ICPDR Executive Secretary Ivan Zavadsky during his keynote speech.

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Summary of the Ho Chi Minh Declaration
Water, Energy and Food security in the context of climate change for the Mekong River Basin
April 5 2014

The Heads of the MRC Governments reaffirm the importance of the sustainable use and management of the water and related resources of the Mekong River Basin, and their political commitment to implement the 1995 Mekong Agreement, and also recognise the achievements made since the last Summit. The Declaration highlights the following issues:

  • Regional opportunities and challenges over the next decade including population growth, increasing demand for water, food and energy and climate change. This will place burdens on the Mekong resources. New cooperation opportunities with other regional and international initiatives will be explored to face these challenges.
  • Priority areas of action including the implementation of the MRC’s Council Study on Sustainable Management and Development of the Mekong River Basin, including the impacts of mainstream hydropower projects, and the Mekong Delta Study initiated by Viet Nam; furthering efforts in disaster risk reduction of floods and droughts; measures to maintain good water quality and avoid, reduce and mitigate risks to river ecology, food security and livelihoods; improving the implementation of the MRC Procedures; expanding cooperation with Dialogue and Development Partners.
  • Moving ahead by committing to strengthen the role of the MRC in integrated water resources management and supporting the decentralisation process aimed at self-financing by 2030; prioritising capacity building for the Member Countries.

The Heads of Government agree to task the MRC Council to ensure the effective implementation of the Declaration through practical programmes and projects. The Third MRC Summit will take place in 2018 in Cambodia.

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. It is established to promote cooperation amongst the Member Countries and thus it is not a supra-national or regulatory body.

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