Prawit sets out river stance

Prawit sets out river stance

Water use 'won't leave anyone behind'

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

Thailand says it supports sustainable development along the Mekong River with fewer boundary impacts to make sure that no one is left behind and all should gain equal benefits from the international river's natural resources, says Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon who delivered the statement during a meeting of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Council.

Thailand on Thursday joined the 27th Meeting of the MRC Council and the 25th Meeting of the Development Partner Consultative Group, which brought together ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the lower Mekong Region's partners from the EU, Australia, New Zealand and the US. The video-conference meeting was hosted by the Laos government with the main focus on drafting a 10-year development plan along the Mekong River.

Gen Prawit said the MRC has followed the strategy of sustainable development for water resource and other natural resources use along the river, together with environmental preservation and conservation.

However, fast progress on water development projects along the river's main stream has already had impacts on people's livelihoods along the river. The country had brought about good cooperation from neighbours, dialogue partners, international agencies, and other development partners to build up a partnership for enhancing the regional river basin's prosperity and sustainable development.

"Thailand has supported benefit-sharing of water use, clean water resources access with equality and fairness. Importantly, it should mitigate boundary impacts by exercising good governance principles for water management through dialogue channels. Any discussion must be done based on 'One Mekong One Spirit' to make balance of people, economic growth and environment. And we won't leave anyone behind," he said.

The MRC meeting was set up amid Thailand's concerns about the Sanakham hydropower project in which the construction site is only two kilometres from Loei's Chiang Khan district, saying the project is harmful to people living along the river and border between Thailand and Laos that uses the river's ridge as the border line. Thailand has threatened not to buy power from the controversial project due to concerns about its impact on the river.

Somkiat Prajamwong, secretary-general of Office of the National Water Resources, said the meeting agreed with the 10-year Mekong Development Strategy in 2021-2030, relating to strengthening the framework of Mekong-Lancang cooperation, ecological system conservation, water security and sustainability, economic and social development, river transport and climate change adaptation.

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