I would like to welcome you to Vientiane, the charming capital of the Lao PDR, for the 4th Mekong River Commission Summit and its International Conference.
The Summit is our highest-level event and signifies the strongest political commitment of our leaders to Mekong cooperation under the MRC framework. The International Conference is our most global event, designed to bring in international expertise and experience to inform solutions and actions in the Mekong. It is also an opportunity for us to promote MRC expertise and experience to the rest of the world.
The theme “Innovation and Cooperation for a Water Secure and Sustainable Mekong” could not be more timely or relevant. The Mekong is undergoing tremendous transformations, with great challenges in terms of changing flow regime, degrading environmental assets, increasing population and water use, and flood and drought. Yet there are also significant opportunities to make development more optimal and sustainable, preserve key wetlands, watersheds and floodplains, and increase the resilience of our countries and communities. There is no better way to do this than to innovate – in policy, technology and approach – and bring together traditional and new coalitions to cooperate to address the challenges and capture the opportunities.
I look forward to open, active and constructive dialogue and participation from all stakeholders so that we will come up with actionable recommendations as concrete outcomes of the Summit and International Conference.
Dr Anoulak Kittikhoun, Chief Executive Officer
Mekong River Commission Secretariat
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