A Milestone for the Mekong River Commission

Press Statement
Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 4, 2014

On the occasion of the Second Mekong River Commission Summit in Ho Chi Minh City, the United States congratulates the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and its member countries on its nearly two decades of achievement. Through the MRC, the governments of the region have improved the lives of millions of people within the basin through sustainable economic development and regional cooperation.

Yet today the challenges faced by the MRC are greater than ever. Increasing demands, rapid development, and climate change are putting greater pressure on the river – threatening the Mekong’s unique environment and the livelihoods of the people that depend on it. There will continue to be growing competition among uses of the river: for food, for energy, for navigation, and for the ecosystem that sustains one of Asia’s great rice baskets and some of the most diverse and productive fisheries in the world. Responding to these challenges will require greater scientific and technical capacity, increased investment, and unprecedented cooperation at all levels and across all stakeholders.

As the representatives of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam meet in Ho Chi Minh City, the United States encourages them to renew their commitment to strengthening the MRC's scientific and technical capacity; to further strengthen and develop regional procedures and guidelines for data collection, monitoring, and sharing; and to commit to greater cooperation, consensus, and agreement on development projects that can have regional benefits.

The United States remains committed to supporting the efforts of the Mekong's riparian countries to improve regional cooperation and management of the river’s resources. We are further committed to providing scientific and technical capacity through our development assistance and increased exchanges with our technical agencies. As we celebrate progress, we urge the ministers to embrace a reform agenda that builds the MRC into a world-class institution that can deliver a sustainable future for all who depend on the waters of the Mekong.