On the 26th of November 2020, Flanders has become a development partner of the Mekong River Commission. Minister-president Jan Jambon and Dr. An Pich Hatda, Chief Executive Officer of the MRC, signed the Grant Agreement which determines the financing and the substantive shaping of the engagement at the 27th MRC Council. This is an important milestone for the Flemish foreign policy. Thanks to the contribution of our expertise in water-related themes to the organisation, we will be able to strengthen the position of Flanders as international player in a region of great geostrategical importance.
The next 5 years we will be covering actions related to navigation, water quantity and quality, environment and climate change in particular. Thanks to the technical approach of the organization we will be able to showcase our expertise in environmental and waterbound themes worldwide, thereby creating opportunities for the Flemish companies in an area of great geostrategic and economic importance.
The “Mekong River Commission for Sustainable Development” is an intergouvernmental treaty organization aiming for the joint management of water reserves and the sustainable development of the region. The riparian states Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand are members while China and Myanmar are dialogue partners. The development partners are both big and smaller countries but also players like the EU and the World Bank.
Furthermore there are also 18 associated partners such as ASEAN, Asian Development Bank, UN-OPS, IUCN and Oxfam.The Mekong river is of crucial importance for this vast region with a clear need for supranational dialogue bodies. The MRC fulfils this role in water diplomacy and is a platform for region cooperation. It focuses on the management of and the cooperation on shared water reserves and the sustainable development of the Mekong river. The organization can be seen as the knowledge hub for sustainable water management.
Minister-president Jan Jambon and ministers bear the responsibility of the implementation of this engagement. They are supported by a broad partnership of departements and agencies representing the Government of Flanders: The Department of Mobility and Public Works, the Department of Environment & Spatial Development, the Department Chancellary and Foreign Affairs, Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) and Flanders International Technical Agency (FITA).
As a development partner of the MRC, on behalf of our policy domain 'mobility and public works', we will reinforce our good historical bilateral cooperation with the partner countries in the Mekong region (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos en Thailand). Moreover, this will be done in the form of a stronger Flemish partnership in which we share our technical knowhow (navigation, sedimentation, drought, flooding,...) on a regional scale in a multilateral framework, thereby showcasing that we are a world player within the field of water diplomacy.
More information: https://www.mrcmekong.org/news-and-events/news/new-zealand-and-flanders-renew-support-to-improve-mekong-water-management/