4th Mekong River Commission Summit kicks off in Laos

Xinhua, April 4, 2023

The fourth Mekong River Commission (MRC) Summit opened in Lao capital Vientiane on Sunday to discuss the preservation of the Mekong River and strengthening of regional cooperation for sustainable development of the river.

Nearly 800 experts, policymakers, academics, representatives of civil society and private sectors around the world attended the conference, Lao National TV reported on Monday.

Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, alongside with leaders from the lower Mekong countries of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, are expected to attend the MRC Summit to renew their commitment to the MRC mandate, and endorse the Vientiane Declaration. High-level representatives from the MRC's dialogue partners of China and Myanmar have also been invited to the convention.

The fourth MRC Summit was held in Lao capital Vientiane from Sunday to Wednesday under the theme "Innovation and Cooperation for a Water Secure and Sustainable Mekong."

During the conference, Lao Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Bounkham Vorachit stressed that water security has been in the spotlight as a key factor for sustainable development.

"The challenge of water security is increasingly impacting every region around the world that is facing the effects of climate change and urbanization, as well as natural disasters. This situation is projected to worsen if we continue business as usual," Bounkham said.

She urged all stakeholders, including public, private sector, international organizations, people and educational institutes to take part in addressing water-related issues and attach special attention to the livelihoods of the poor and disadvantaged people.

"We need more joint actions with all relevant stakeholders through innovative technologies that can help us transform regional water management, improve data and information sharing, and boost our technology monitoring systems," she said.