(KPL) Mekong basin-wide planning, environmental monitoring, flood and drought management, climate change adaption, and stakeholder engagement are some of the key areas to benefit from a renewed partnership between the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) of Australia.
The technical collaboration between the MRC and MDBA was revitalized on Jun 5 as the two bodies reached an agreement to continue their cooperation.
MRC Secretariat CEO Dr. An Pich Hatda and MDBA Chief Executive Mr. Phillip Glyde signed a memorandum of understanding at an official ceremony in the Australia’s capital city Canberra in attendance of Mekong senior energy policy-makers and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and MDBA senior officials.
“We believe this MOU will not only further strengthen our collaboration but also contribute to addressing some of the current and future challenges the Mekong basin is facing,” CEO Hatda said, noting that increasing extreme weather, climate change and difficult trade-offs between development and various water related sectors are some of the challenges.
“We expect to engage in greater details on areas that are very critical to the two basins. We hope to bring our expertise to the Mekong to ensure the MRC can play its key roles as the regional knowledge hub and water diplomacy platform,” Mr. Glyde said at the signing ceremony.
The technical cooperation between the two basins dates back to 1996, one year after the MRC was established, with Australia being a strong supporter and funder of this partnership throughout. But the cooperation has been silent in recent years due to institutional reforms. Indeed, the new MOU is based on the existing one, extending the same spirit of cooperation.
The renewed MOU will see both parties collaborate technically through basin-wide water planning, environmental monitoring and evaluation, drought and flood management, groundwater planning and management, climate change and uncertainty planning, and public and stakeholder engagement.
The MOU signing took place at the assistance by the DFAT at the sidelines of the First Mekong-Australia Energy Policy Dialogue, which brings senior energy officials from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Viet Nam and Myanmar to Melbourne, Canberra, Cooma and Sydney from 2-7 June 2019 to meet with Australia’s leading renewable energy policy-makers, academics and representatives.
The Dialogue aims to provide the visiting Mekong officials with an overview of the breadth of experience and innovation that Australia has to offer in the context of renewable energy and water management sectors.