Summit on future of Mekong to be held

Summit on future of Mekong to be held

Thailand will later this year host the 28th meeting of the council of the Mekong River Commission to discuss ways to mitigate the impact of dams on member countries, Somkiat Prajamwong, secretary-general of the Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) said.

This meeting is expected to be held by the last quarter of this year and will be followed by the 4th summit of countries in the Lower Mekong Basin, expected to be held in April next year, he said.

Several measures proposed for curbing the negative impact of Mekong dams on the people living downstream the river, including seven northeastern provinces in Thailand, were discussed at a meeting of the Thai National Mekong Committee, which was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, said Mr Somkiat.

Gen Prawit expressed concern at yesterday's meeting over the problem of volatile levels of water in the Mekong that are expected to peak between this month and next month, which is the transition from the dry season to the rainy season.

The ONWR and the Foreign Affairs Ministry were assigned to work together with China to find a conclusion on joint management of water in Lancang River in China that drains into the Mekong, he said.

The ONWR and the ministry were also assigned to speed up drafting a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation for water management that will be signed between Thailand and Laos, he said.

Also discussed at the meeting was progress on the process of prior consultation in the Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation and Agreement (PNPCA) of the Sanakham hydropower project, proposed on the Mekong mainstream between Xayaburi and Vientiane provinces of neighbouring Laos, he said.

In the next process, a joint study will be pushed to be carried out with the main focus on a possible joint development of Mekong hydro-power supplies by Thailand and Laos, he said.

The ministry was assigned to push to make the joint study project happen, he said.

Approved also at the meeting was a national plan on 24 projects aimed at sustaining Mekong water management and synchronising it with the 20-year national water resources management plan, he said.

The new national plan is intended for implementation from this year until 2025, he said.

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