Vietnam Mekong River Commission holds first plenary meeting in 2019 hinh anh 1Scene at the plenary meeting (Photo: VNA)

Tien Giang (VNA) – The Vietnam Mekong River Commission (VMRC) held the first plenary meeting in 2019 in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang on June 19 under the chair of the commission’s chairman Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha.

The meeting was held to announce the consultation results regarding Laos’ Pak Lay hydropower project on the Mekong’s mainstream and the development of hydro power upstream the river.

The functions and priority tasks for the VMRC after the commission’s upgrade were also tabled for discussion.

Opening the meeting, Minister Hong Ha said the Government’s Resolution 120/NQ-CP on climate resilient and sustainable development of the Mekong Delta region has created a strong shift in the way of thinking on the way forward for the region in the context of climate change and impacts of economic growth. However, negative effects on and vulnerability of the Mekong Delta are yet to be addressed.

Therefore, it is necessary to establish the position, functions and tasks of the VMRC, which should include related activities such as diplomatic ties with upstream nations, consultations on appropriate use of water through hydro power technical solutions on the Mekong’s mainstream, and information update in order to propose comprehensive solutions for arising issues, the minister said.

In addition to a report of the VMRC’s standing office on the consultation outcomes regarding the Pak Lay project, reports on the implementation of the tasks assigned to the commission in Resolution 120/NQ-CP and the situation of water use and diversion in Thailand.

An important task of the VMRC under Resolution 120/NQ-CP is to assess and propose measures for the effective implementation of the Mekong Agreement, upholding Vietnam’s role in the Mekong River Commission and increasing cooperation in the management and exploitation of water resources in the Mekong.

Minister Hong Ha requested that the VMRC’s plenary meeting give priority to reaching consensus on a plan and specific measures to successfully complete the VMRC’s working programme in 2019.

Chairman of the People’s Committee of Tien Giang province told the meeting that as one of the downstream localities, Tien Giang has been facing many challenges and negative impacts of climate change and increased use of water resources by upstream nations.

He reported that the province has issued Plan 96/KH-UBND on March 28 this year on implementing the Government’s Resolution 120/NQ-CP. Under the plan, Tien Giang will intensify communication campaigns on climate resilient and sustainable development of the Mekong Delta following the guidance of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, complete basic surveys on natural resources and the environment, and step by step draw maps on the risks of flooding and saltwater intrusion at communal level based on various scenarios on sea level rise with a view to draft suitable measures for adaptation and response.-VNA