Regions and network

UNEPGEFUniversity of Kalmar
Subregion 55: Mekong River

  • Major intergovernmental agreements and actors
  • Action programmes, strategies, and research
  • State of the regional environment
  • GEF Projects in the region
  • Other actors and initiatives

    Major intergovernmental agreements and actors

    Mekong River Commission, MRC
    The MRC is an intergovernmental and international organization established at the signing of the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin in 1995. The Agreement was signed by the four riparian countries: Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Thailand and Vietnam. The Commission replaced the Mekong Committee established in 1957 and the Interim Mekong Committee established in 1978. The Commission's objective is to cooperate in all fields of sustainable development, utilization, management and conservation of the water and related resources of the Mekong River Basin including but not limited to irrigation, hydro-power, navigation, flood control, fisheries, timber floating, recreation and tourism, in a manner to optimize the multiple-use and mutual benefits of all riparians and to minimize the harmful effects that might result from natural occurrences and man-made activities. See also Mekonginfo.

    Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN
    ASEAN was established in 1967 and has ten member countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. The ASEAN Declaration states that the aims and purposes of the Association are: to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian nations, and to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter. In 1995, the ASEAN Heads of States and Government re-affirmed that "Cooperative peace and shared prosperity shall be the fundamental goals of ASEAN." See also

    Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP
    Within the Water Resources Programme under its Environment and Natural Resources Development Division, the UN ESCAP organizes seminars and workshops on various issues relating to water resources, including: Water resources assessment; Integrated water resources development and management; Protection of water resources, water quality and aquatic ecosystems; River basin development and management; Promotion of infrastructure development and investment for drinking water supply and sanitation; Water pricing and promotion of private investment in the water sector; Water demand management, water saving and economic use of water; and Mitigation of water-related natural disasters, particularly flood loss reduction.

    UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, ROAP
    Working closely with the Division of Regional Co-operation and Representation in UNEP's Nairobi-based headquarters, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) looks to adopt global environmental policy to regional priorities and needs. It acts as a catalyst, co-ordinator, facilitater and mobilizer of resources. It puts particular emphasis on building partnerships with regional and sub-regional intergovernmental fora, other UN agencies, national governments, NGOs, the private sector, academic and research institutions, and civil society, and the media. See also here.

    Financial institutions

    Asian Development Bank, ADB
    The Asian Development Bank, a multilateral development finance institution, was founded in 1966 by 31 member governments to promote the social and economic progress of the Asia-Pacific region. It now has 58 member countries - 42 from within the region and 16 non-regional. ADB gives special attention to the needs of the smaller or less-developed countries, and to regional, subregional, and national projects and programs. Promoting sustainable development and environmental protection is a key strategic development objective of the Bank. (See also about environment.) To fulfill this objective, the Bank (i) reviews the environmental impacts of its projects, programs, and policies; (ii) encourages DMC governments and executing agencies to incorporate environmental protection measures in their project design and implementation procedures, and provides technical assistance for this purpose; (iii) promotes projects and programs that will protect, rehabilitate, and enhance the environment and the quality of life; and (iv) trains Bank and DMC staff in, and provides documentation on, environmental aspects of economic development. The Asian Development Fund (ADF) is the concessional lending window of the Bank.


    Action programmes, strategies and research

    ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on the Environment
    The Strategic Plan of Action on the Environment for 1994-1998 has the following five objectives:

    • to respond to specific recommendations of Agenda 21 requiring priority action in ASEAN;
    • to introduce policy measures and promote institutional development that encourage the integration of environmental factors in all developmental processes both at the national and regional levels;
    • to establish long term goals on environmental quality and work towards harmonised environmental quality standards for the ASEAN region;
    • to harmonise policy directions and enhance operational and technical cooperation on environmental matters, and undertake joint actions to address common environmental problems; and
    • to study the implications of AFTA on the environment and take steps to integrate sound trade policies with sound environmental policies.

    Despite the impacts of the recent economic crisis on the natural resources and environmental conditions, the ASEAN Environment Ministers at their Fifth Informal Meeting in April 2000 discussed the importance of keeping their commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development. Hence, to move forward towards the future goals and directions that the ASEAN leaders expressed in ASEAN Vision 2020 and the Hanoi Plan of Action (adopted in 1997 and 1998 respectively) the Ministers adopted the ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on the Environment (SPAE) for 1999-2004. It consists of the key activities to be implemented by ASOEN (ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment) and its subsidiary bodies over the next five years, including the areas of coastal and marine environment, nature conservation and biodiversity, multilateral environmental agreements, management of land and forest fires and haze, and other environmental activities.


    Mekong Delta Research and Reference Site
    Presents data on the Mekong Delta, including a research projects database.


    State of the regional environment

    GEO 2000 State of the Environment: Asia and the Pacific

    Global Enviroment Outlook 2000. GEO is:

    • a global environmental assessment process, the GEO Process, that is cross-sectoral and participatory. It incorporates regional views and perceptions, and builds consensus on priority issues and actions through dialogue among policy-makers and scientists at regional and global levels.
    • GEO outputs, in printed and electronic formats, including the GEO Report series. This series makes periodic reviews of the state of the world's environment, and provides guidance for decision-making processes such as the formulation of environmental policies, action planning and resource allocation. Other outputs include technical reports, a web site and a publication for young people.

    GEF Projects in the region

    Projects under implementation

    World Bank - GEF - International Waters:
    Mekong River Basin Water Utilization Project
    The Project would help the member states of the Mekong River Commission (MRC): Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, implement key elements of the 1995 Agreement on Cooperation for Sustainable Development of Mekong Basin (Agreement). The Project's broad development objectives would be to assist the MRC to establish mechanisms to promote and improve coordinated and sustainable water management in the Basin, including reasonable and equitable water utilization and water quality management by the countries of the Basin and protection of sensitive ecological systems including wetlands, flooded forests and the estuary system that support globally significant biodiversity. This would be achieved through preparation of "Rules" for water utilization (in particular, minimum in-stream flows on the Mekong River) and protocols for information exchange, notification/consultation in accordance with the Mekong Agreement. The Project would assist in the formulation and implementation of the Rules by facilitating consultations among the MRC-member states and helping the MRC develop a Basin Simulation Model Package and Knowledge Base. See also WB info.

    Project concepts in the pipeline

    UNDP - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Mekong River Basin Wetland Biodiversity
    The project will have 3 inter-linked levels of activity involving Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam: a chain of demonstration models of participatory management and sustainable use of wetlands, policy development and regional activities.


    Other actors, initiatives and resources

    Mekong Forum
    A dedicated information resource on Mekong River environment, Mekong River people and Mekong River basin develo
    pment issues.

    An interactive web-based system for sharing information and knowledge related to participatory natural resource management in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. MekongInfo aims to provide a portal to participatory natural resource management in the region.

    The Mekong River Basin
    Information on the Mekong River Basin by the International Rivers Network, including the IRN Mekong campaign.


  • Global International Waters Assessment, GIWA
    SE- 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden
    Phone: +46- 480 44 60 00. Fax: +46- 480 44 73 55.

    page last modified on 22 August 2006