Integrated Water Resources Management-based Basin Development Strategy 2016-2020 for the Lower Mekong Basin

The Basin Development Strategy for 2016- 2020 (henceforth BDS 2016-2020) replaces the 2011-2015 Strategy. This updating re ects the dynamic challenges encountered in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB).
The Mekong, one of the world’s greatest rivers, is an exceptionally complex system with high intra-annual and inter-annual ow variability caused by the Southwest Monsoon, bringing both great risks and opportunities. It is also a rapidly changing river because of its contribution to the rapid economic development of the basin countries, but also as a consequence of this development on the river itself, including the impacts of increasing population, urbanisation and industrialisation. Adding to these on-going changes are uncertain futures, particularly as a consequence of climate change. In all river basins, futures are uncertain and solutions are always provisional. This is particularly so in the Mekong basin due to the rapidity of change, within and outside the water sector. The dynamic updating of the Strategy is an essential response to these challenges. This updating aims to engage stakeholders in a regular cycle of cooperative engagement, re ective analysis, adaptive strategy preparation and pragmatic, achievable action.

Adaptation to climate change in the countries of the Lower Mekong Basin: regional synthesis report

The Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) covers an area of approximately 606,000 km2 within the countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Based on the outcomes of recent national and regional studies, there is growing concern about the potential effects of climate change on the socio-economic characteristics and natural resources of the LMB region. There is an identified need for a more informed understanding of the potential impacts from climate change. In response, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) has launched the regional Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative (CCAI). The CCAI is a collaborative regional initiative designed to address the shared climate change adaptation challenges of LMB countries. The Regional Synthesis Report (RSR) has been prepared as part of the initial phase of the CCAI to provide a snapshot of current knowledge and activities related to climate change in the LMB countries. The speci c objectives of the RSR are:
• To inform a wide audience of the current state of knowledge of climate change issues in LMB countries and across the region;
• To provide up to date information on regional and national adaptation activities and policy and institutional responses in relation to climate change;
• To present the results of a climate change ‘gap analysis’ identifying information de ciencies and shortcomings in planned activities and policy and institutional responses;
• To present a series of recommendations for future climate change related actions in the LMB.

TRANSBOUNDARY DIALOGUE under Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management Project

The Mekong River flows 4,900 km across six countries in Southeast Asia from China to Vietnam before emptying into the sea. It is one of the largest and most bio-diverse rivers in the world, providing rich ecosystems and abundant natural resources to the riverine countries and their people. It is important to manage the resources beyond national boundaries as water, fish and sediment, all flow from one country to another. However, governing the river across borders has been a challenge for the Mekong countries due to differing national interests and priorities. Transboundary dialogue can help reduce tension and increase cooperation among countries. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) supports its four member countries in the Lower Mekong Basin – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam – to enhance transboundary cooperation through the Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management Project (M-IWRMP). The project promotes IWRM practices of coordinated planning and management with the application of MRC’s procedural rules, known as Procedures, and technical tools on water use planning, data sharing and flow monitoring.
The project originally began in 2009 with three inter-linked regional, transboundary and national components to increase IWRM-based water cooperation among the four countries at both basin-wide and local levels. The regional component, funded by the Australian government, was completed in 2015 after it advanced the application of the MRC Procedures and their technical guidelines and developed a package of modeling tools for basin-scale water utilisation. While the transboundary component focuses on bilateral water cooperation, the national component supports each member country to improve governance mechanisms and build technical capacity to carry out coordinated planning and utilisation of water within the national boundaries. The World Bank finances both the transboundary and national components.

Mekong Trends GMS Aviation Snapshot

The Mekong Trends Aviation Snapshot released during the last Mekong Tourism Forum in June 2017 in Luang Prabang, Laos, is a first attempt by the MTCO in cooperation with national tourism organisations to highlight the tremendous changes which occurred in air transport over the last years and to look at emerging opportunities within the GMS.