The Mekong River Commission (MRC) is the only inter-governmental agency that works directly with the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam on their common specific interests—joint management of shared water resources and sustainable development of the Mekong River.
As a regional facilitating and advisory body governed by water and environment ministers of the four countries, the MRC aims to ensure that the Mekong water is developed in the most efficient manner that mutually benefits all Member Countries and minimises harmful effects on people and the environment in the Lower Mekong Basin.
Serving its member states with technical know-how and basin-wide perspectives, the MRC plays a key role in regional decision-making and the execution of policies in a way that promotes sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
Since its establishment in 1995 by the Mekong Agreement, the MRC has adopted a number of rules and procedures, such as the Procedures for Water Quality, to provide a systematic and uniform process for the implementation of this accord. It also acts as a regional knowledge hub on several key issues such as fisheries, navigation, flood and drought management, environment monitoring and hydropower development.
The MRC Secretariat is an operational arm comprising about 150 staff members based in two Secretariat offices in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Vientiane, Lao PDR. Its focal points in the four countries, the National Mekong Committee, coordinate work at the national level.
The agency engages a wide range of stakeholders into its programme work and strategic planning. The two upper states of the Mekong River Basin, the People’s Republic of China and the Union of Myanmar, are dialogue partners with the MRC.
The MRC is funded by contributions from the four Member Countries and development partners—country governments, development banks and international organisations.
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) was established on 5 April 1995 with the signing of the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin. The MRC member countries are the Kingdom of Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Kingdom of Thailand and Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The two upper states if the Mekong River Basin, the People’s Republic of China and the Union of Myanmar, are dialogue partners to the MRC.
The MRC history goes back to 1957, with the establishment of the Committee for Coordination of Investigations of the Lower Mekong Basin (the Mekong Committee).
The MRC consists of three permanent bodies: the Council, the Joint Committee (JC) and the Secretariat.
The Council, comprising one member at Ministerial and Cabinet level (no less than Vice-Minister) from each MRC member country, who would be empowered to make policy decisions on behalf of his/her government. The Council shall convene at least regular session every year and may convene special sessions whenever it considers it necessary or upon the request a member State.
The JC, comprising also one member from each member country at no less than Head of Department level. The JC shall convene at least two regular sessions very year and may convene special sessions whenever it considers it necessary or upon the request a member State.
The Secretariat, which provides technical and administrative services to the JC and the Council, is under the direction of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) appointed by the Council. The Secretariat is located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and will be moved to Vientiane, Lao PDR in June 2004.
The Assistant to the CEO is of the same nationality as the JC Chairman and serves a one year term.
The budget of the Commission consists of contributions from its members and donor community. Formal consultation with the donor community is preceded through an annual Donor Consultative Meeting.
The National Mekong Committees (NMCs) act as focal points for the Commission in each of the member country. National Mekong Committee Secretariat serves the NMCs.
Area of Cooperation
The MRC member countries agree to cooperate in all fields of sustainable development, utilization, management and conversation 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.
A vision for the Mekong River Basin
An economically prosperous, socially just and environmentally sound river basin
A vision for the Mekong River Commission
A world class, financially secure, international river basin organization serving the Mekong countries.
Mission of the Mekong River Commission
To promote and co-ordinate sustainable management and development of water and related resources for the countries’ mutual benefit and people’s well-being by implementing strategic programmes and activities and providing scientific information and policy advice.