The story of the Mekong Basin Development Plan
Prof. David Grey is a member of the International Panel of Experts for the Mekong River Commission’s Basin Development Plan and a co-author of a recent MRC publication ‘The BDP Story. Mekong Basin Planning: the Story behind the Basin Development Plan”.
The booklet tells the captivating story of one of the world’s great river basins. The river is characterised by high variability of flows, resulting in cycles of flooding and droughts which hamper economic and social development in the region.
The Mekong Basin Development Plan is an instrument of the Lower Mekong Basin countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam for cooperation over the sustainable use, management and conservation of the basin’s water resources. The story of the Basin Development Plan is told within the context of the history of the Lower Mekong region and the history of planning and development of the river basin.
The booklet points out that there are significant benefits to be gained and shared through cooperation. The Basin Development Plan presents an important opportunity for the Lower Mekong Basin countries to move forward with development to support economic growth and poverty reduction.
The planning process has enabled countries to identify strategic priorities for the basin, outline steps for the implementation of joint development projects, and explore mechanisms for sharing transboundary benefits. As well as harnessing the opportunities for development, the initiative also aims to ensure that negative impacts of water resources development are kept to a minimum.
A cautiously optimistic outlook is depicted for the future of the river basin and its potential to deliver the sustainable development very much needed by the people of the Mekong.
Fishing in the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam. Photo credit: Rayson Wong