River committee sets regional agenda

River committee sets regional agenda

Sandbars can be seen on the Mekong River in tambon Pha Taem in Nong Khai, across from Laos. Nutthawat Wicheanbut
Sandbars can be seen on the Mekong River in tambon Pha Taem in Nong Khai, across from Laos. Nutthawat Wicheanbut

The national committee for the Mekong River on Wednesday approved a framework for discussions at the teleconference-based 27th meeting of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) with Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, that is set to take place next Thursday.

Speaking after the committee's meeting on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, in his capacity as chairman, said the main focus of the MRC meeting will be a new 10-year strategic plan (2021-2030) and a five-year strategic plan (2021-2025) for the development of the river.

Another important area of discussion will deal with the strategies for managing environmental resources in the Mekong basin, said Gen Prawit.

As part of this regional plan, Thailand has selected three sites for studies associated with efforts to better manage the environmental resources of the river basin, he said.

The study sites are the lower part of Songkhram River in Nakhon Phanom; Nong Bong Khai Non-Hunting Area in Chiang Rai; and Khao Yai and Thap Lan National Parks, which cover Saraburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachin Buri and Nakhon Nayok.

A master plan for transport in the Mekong region -- designed for improving the safety of boat navigation in the river while promoting more river transport by member countries of the MRC -- will also be discussed, he said.

Along with the discussion framework for the 27th MRC meeting, the committee on Wednesday followed up on the water situation of the Mekong as the dry season draws near.

Somkiat Prajamwong, secretary-general of the Office of National Water Resources, said his office, at on Wednesday's meeting, was assigned to analyse the water situation in the Mekong and give advance warning to provinces that may be affected by the volatility of water levels in the regional river.

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