Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam: On 12 June 2013, the Mekong Water Dialogues (MWD) Project Steering Committee Meeting was held in Ho Chi Minh City. The aim was to discuss and evaluate the progress of the MWD project and to exchange ideas and experiences in a Southeast Asian context.
Members of MWD Project Steering Committee from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam attended the meeting and provide updates of MWD activities in their respective country. The presentations covered the national progress made since January 2013, in addition to what remains to be fulfilled prior to the end of the year. This was especially significant, as the second phase of the two-phase MWD is to be completed in 2014.
The information generated by the MWD project is being used to support government departments and agencies to support their planning, along with IUCN support and guidance. Government and civil society need to collaborate efficiently on transboundary water issues. MWD has started this process of exchange through building regional capacity.
One key approach of MWD is that experiences and lessons learned from site-level work are gradually being mainstreamed into national policies and strategies in order to improve livelihoods of communities as well as ecosystem health.
An important aspect highlighted at this meeting was the need to strengthen institutional capacity for furthering sustainability of the project outcomes. In this regard, water-related laws were recognised as critically important. The need for community water dialogues and consultation meetings for management of water resources and flood management plans was expressed during the meeting.
“Transboundary mismanagement of water has led to wars and conflict in different parts of the world. The sharing of water resources will continue to remain a pressing concern in the years to come. In this context, information exchange through MWD is critical and will contribute toward making a significant difference", says Dr Dao Trong Tu, Chair of MWD Vietnam National Working Group.
By Ria Sen and Dararat Weerapong