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MRC Council Meeting Approves One Secretariat Office Relocation Plan

The Secretariat Office of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) will be merged into one in Vientiane, Lao PDR, within the next two months.

While the MRC Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre (RFMMC) will remain in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to continue to provide regional flood forecasting services, according to a detailed roadmap approved by the MRC Council at the 23rd Annual Meeting on November 23 – 24 2016 in Pakse, Champassak Province.

The consolidation of the two Secretariat Offices in Phnom Penh and Vientiane was decided by the Prime Ministers of the two current host countries, Cambodia and Lao PDR, back in July this year, and the Council, the MRC’s highest decision making body, approved the detailed plan on the office consolidation. The relocation process will start next month and will be completed by the end of February of next year.

The decision came during the annual meeting where the four Council members discussed how to strengthen the implementation of the MRC procedures, including the prior consultation process for mainstream development, cooperation with China and Myanmar, Development Partners and other regional initiatives. Participants of the meeting also reviewed the progress of implementing the Basin Development Strategy for 2016-2020 and MRC Annual Work Plan 2016. The Council approved the MRC Annual Work Plan for 2017, with a fully funded budget of US$15 million.

During the joint meeting with the Twenty-first Development Partners Consultative Groups, session 2 of the twenty-third meeting of the MRC Council, Council members and development partners exchanged views on MRC reform, decentralization, as well as the prior consultation process, hydropower projects, and stakeholder outreach. Both sides acknowledged the importance of strengthening MRC regional cooperation for sustainable development of the Mekong basin in the context of a complex regional development agenda. “I’m very pleased and optimistic that our concerted efforts and Mekong Spirit will bring us more positive outcomes in our increased cooperation with member countries as well as cooperation with our dialogue partners, development partners and other stakeholders,” said Minister Sommad Pholsena, Chairperson of the MRC Council for 2016.

MRC development partners welcomed the decision and efforts of MRC member countries to have a single office of the Secretariat in Vientiane. The development partners further committed to their continued support for the MRC to advance better management and more sustainable development of shared water resources in the region. The MRC has continued to receive new funding commitments.

Source: Lao News Agency