Regional Exchange on IWRM experiences in the Mekong River Basin

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1 Regional Exchange on IWRM experiences in the Mekong River Basin Regional workshop on October 2014 Vientiane, Lao PDR Preparation of the 7th World Water Forum of Daegu (South Korea) Meeting Presentation Paper The Mekong river basin context Transboundary Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is based on the principle that river basins are the most accurate and coherent scale to organise water management. 276 rivers and lakes, as well as hundreds of groundwater tables, are shared by different states, covering around 50% of the total land area of the planet. There is a need to develop specific agreements, harmonised methods and management tools for the monitoring, management and protection of water resources between the countries sharing the same river basins in order to deal with the issues related to these transboundary basins. Transboundary IWRM promotes cooperation between sovereign riparian countries and implementation of planned investments at river basin scale in the respect of the common interest of an healthy environment for sustainable development. The Mekong river is the longest river of South East Asia (around 4800 km from the Tibetan plateau to the delta) with a transboundary basin covering around km 2 and 6 countries (China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam), and with a mean annual flow of m 3 /s. The four riparian countries of the lower Mekong basin (Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam) signed the Mekong Agreement, or "Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin", in 1995, which establishes the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and sets institutional rules and mechanisms for the cooperation in all the fields of sustainable development, use, management and conservation of water resources and associated resources of the Mekong River Basin. China and Myanmar are "dialogue partners" with the MRC members.

2 Water resources of the Mekong River Basin are facing increasing anthropogenic pressures (increase of demand, of pollution, etc) due to fast economic and demographic development, which is jeopardizing the fragile balance of the basin. To tackle these issues, the water resources management of the Mekong River Basin has to be strengthened at international scale, with the development at national scale of "good practices" by the riparian countries including tools and methods in line with the national institutional and legislative frameworks. The Water Agencies cooperation projects in the region The regional workshop presented in this paper is part of the French Water Agencies cooperation projects in the water sector in Asia. These projects aim at bringing a support to the national and local authorities in order to better implement IWRM, mainly through capacity building activities. These programme were initiated in 2009 with a project in Vietnam (Dong Nai basin) and then pursued in Lao PDR (Nam Ngum basin) and finally in Cambodia (Stung Sen basin) in These three projects, financially and technical supported by Loire-Brittany Water Agency, Rhine-Meuse Water Agency and Seine- Normandy Water Agency, are all still ongoing and already achieved some results. They notably helped to implement tools and methods for participative river basin management planning and funding, as well as water information system. The proposed regional meeting will be an occasion to contribute sharing the progresses made for IWRM by the different Mekong countries in order to better capitalize experiences and harmonise actions. Preparation of the 7th World Water Forum of Daegu and Gyeongju (South Korea) 7 th World Water Forum of Daegu and Gyeongju will take place in Asia (South Korea) in April The Regional Workshop that will take place in Vientiane (Lao PDR) from 15 to 17 October 2014 was designed to be used as a stepping stone in the preparation process. To this end the workshop will be used as a contribution to identify key messages of the countries on IWRM in the Mekong River Basin for the 7 th World Water Forum; In addition, will attend representatives of the World Youth Parliament for Water from the Mekong River Basin as the regional meeting is organised back to back with the Youth Forum (see Nota Bene at the end of the document). Regional workshop objectives - Sharing on the latest progresses made in the different countries concerning IWRM, at regional, national and sub-basin scale - Exchanging on the experiences at regional, national and sub-basin scale on main IWRM pillars i.e. legal and institutional organisation, participative River Basin Management Plan preparation, measures funding and collaborative data management - Identifying the key messages of the countries on IWRM in the Mekong River Basin for the 7 th World Water Forum

3 Organisation partners and participants to the event The workshop will be hosted and organized by the Laotian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), under the patronage of the French Ambassador in Vientiane. The Loire-Brittany Water Agency offers the main contribution to the organisation of the event. The delegation attending the regional workshop will be headed by Jacques Oudin, Honorary Senator and President of the international Commission of the Loire Brittany Basin committee. Extra support is provided by the Rhine Meuse Water Agency supporting various cooperation projects in the region. The technical support for the organisation is undertaken by the International Office for Water (IOWater) and International Network of Basin Organisations (INBO) represented at the meeting by Jean-François Donzier, permanent technical secretary. The youth forum taking place before the workshop and the activities of the youth during the workshop are being coordinated by the International Secretariat for Water and Solidarity Water Europe. The workshop will gather the main competent authorities of IWRM policy of the Mekong Basin countries (China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam), the Mekong River Commission, as well as the technical and funding partners of projects run at national and regional scales in the region and up to all the interested parties involved in aiming at tackling Mekong countries sustainable development objectives. Milestones for the preparation of the regional workshop This event will be held in Vientiane (Lao PDR) from 15 to 17 October. The main milestones for the preparation are as follow: February 2014: preparatory mission of the Loire-Brittany Water Agency, technical and funding partner for 3 pilot projects for IWRM in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. 8-9 May 2014: participation to the Rhine-Mekong symposium in Koblenz. March-October 2014: Preparatory work for the organisation of the Regional Exchange Workshop. Preparation of the framework of the key messages for the 7 th World Water Forum. From 15 to 17 October 2014: Regional Exchange Workshop in Vientiane. October March 2015: Last run for the preparation the 7 th World Water Forum.

4 Provisional content and programme This workshop is designed to participate to the dissemination of hand-on practices on how to concretely implement a sustainable development policy. English will be used as main communication language. The discussions will be structured around three main topics related to integrated water resources management: 1 Legal and institutional framework. This item will be the occasion to exchange on the different organisation for Participative River Basin Management Planning (from the International districts to national and local scales) as well as to address the challenge of horizontal and vertical coordination (i.e. between the different sectors and between the different scales). 2 Funding. This key aspect is often seen as the most problematic for the countries trying to implement IWRM. The workshop will be the occasion to highlight lesson learned from experiences developed in the region and identify solution to overcome this challenge. 3 Data management in order to insure building a collaborative data management system to best use existing data and benefiting from their on-line improvement. This data administration action is a key allowing a constant and sustainable increase of knowledge for participative river basin management planning and efficient water resources management. The challenge of training and capacity building will also be addressed as a cross-cutting issue. The experts and decision-makers from each country will have the possibility to intervene on pre-selected topics, depending on their own experience and the issues they are facing, by presenting specific examples of the work done, tools developed, encountered difficulties and successes at the national or basin scale. The agenda of the workshop will be structured in order to keep time for discussions and exchanges between each intervention. The logic of the workshop is not to go deeply into each technical issue, but to bring forward the main challenges and prepare recommendations as well as common key messages, which will help the different countries to deal in depth with their specific problems afterwards.

5 A preliminary draft agenda is as follow: TIME 08:30-09:00 Welcome of the participants 15 October ACTIVITIES 09:00-09:30 - Welcoming words by the DWR-MoNRE - Speech by the French Embassy / Loire-Brittany Water Agency - Opening speech by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment 09:3 10:00 Presentation of the objectives of the seminar Coffee break 10:30 11:50 Presentation of participative RBMPlaning experiences in the Mekong countries, including the 3 French cooperation projects in South-east Asia: Nam Ngum project (Lao PDR), Stung Sen project (Cambodia), Dong Nai project (Vietnam) 11:50 12:10 Intervention of international actors (donors, UNECE, etc.) 12:10 12:30 Discussions on the presentations of the morning Lunch break 14:00 15:15 Plenary thematic workshop - legal and institutional organisation Coffee break 15:30 16:15 Discussions and preparation of the key messages for the 7 th WWForum 16:15 16:30 Synthesis and conclusions of the day

6 09:00 10:15 Conference room A Thematic workshop Planning & funding 16 October Conference room B Thematic workshop Data management 10 :15 11:00 Discussions and preparation of the key messages for the WWForum Discussions and preparation of the key messages for the WWForum Coffee break 11:15 12:15 Synthesis and reports on the conclusions and recommendations of the 3 workshops Lunch break 14:00 14:30 Intervention of the MRC : global vision for the Mekong river 14:30 15:15 - Presentation of the 6 youth who will attend the 3 rd General Assembly of the World Youth Parliament for Water during the 7 th WWForum - Presentation of the youth declaration - Presentation of the Blue Passports 15:15 15:30 Group photo 15:30 16:00 Closing ceremony Whole day 17 October - Visit related to water in the Nam Ngum Basin (to be defined)

7 NB: Will take place in parallel the youth activities in Vientiane to prepare the 7th World Water Forum (11-14 October 2014) organised by International Secretariat for Water /Solidarity Water Europe, including: è Youth forum with the 12 selected participants (3days) Field visit organise with ADB GMS-EOC program (1day) Workshop with experts on the stakes of the Mekong integrated management of water resources with EDF, ADB, WWF (to be confirmed) Development of a strategy of implementation of youth projects linked with the integrated management of water resources. Workshop to determine a flag, an anthem and a Moto for the Mekong river basin Cultural evening The conclusion of the two events will be shared at the regional workshop on Wednesday 15 afternoon including: Presentation of the Youth declaration and delegation for the 3 rd World Youth Parliament of Water that will take place during the 7 th World Water Forum. Presentation of the key messages and recommendations identified by the youth during the previous days. Presentation of the Blue Passports

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