By Khuon Narim
Phnom Penh, January 18, 2018
The Mekong River Commission yesterday launched two joint projects to better manage the Mekong basin resources and address flood and drought issues, especially monitoring the environmental impact of the controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam.
The MRC meeting kicked off in Vientiane, Laos, focussing on two joint projects between Cambodia and Laos and Cambodia and Thailand.
The projects are funded by the German government and focus on transboundary planning of water resources management.
“These projects are expected to lead to joint investment in improving water safety and support economic and social development in the project areas,” said Pham Tuan Panh, chief executive of the commission.
Tek Vannara, executive director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, said he supported the projects to address floods and droughts.
“However, the project needs to assess the Don Sahong dam if it wants to be thorough,” Mr Vannara said.
Te Navuth, secretary-general of the Cambodian National Mekong Committee, said yesterday the MRC projects would address environmental impacts in three countries – Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
“Through the MRC we have worked together to monitor changes in hydrology, water quality, fish migration, and the ecosystem in the Mekong River,” he said.
“Only through joint monitoring can we have access to this technical information. We will work together to manage the environment and deal with any crisis that may happen.”
He added that an MRC working group was writing a detailed project proposal to ask Germany for funding.
According to Mr Navuth, there was previously no clear joint monitoring of the Mekong between the neighbouring countries.