Vientiane Times 12 February 2007
The government of Finland has granted more than US$8.6 million to the Mekong River Commission (MRC).
The agreement, which will disburse the funds over four years, was signed by the Ambassador of Finland to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, Mr Lars Backstrom, and the Chief Executive Officer of the MRC Secretariat, Dr Olivier Cogels, on Thursday.
The money will be used to support development planning of the Mekong Basin through the commission's new information and knowledge management programme.
The programme facilitates access to and the use of data and information necessary to promote and co-ordinate sustainable resource development in the Mekong Basin .
It incorporates the exchange and sharing of data on water and other resources required to implement the MRC's programmes, such as the management and development of the MRC database.
Dr Cogels thanked the Finnish government for its generous support, which has already completed studies of the Mekong River Basin and the Tonle Sap-Great Lake system.
Deputy Minister of Cooperation and Development of Finland, Mrs Marjatta Rasi, who paid a working visit to Laos from February 6-8 when she took part in the signing ceremony, said the Finnish government was very happy to be playing such a leading role in the sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin .
“We understand that there is a need for the basin's water resources to be better used if we are to see a reduction in poverty and an improvement in the social and economic standards of people living in the basin region,” she said.
“We are also very aware that any developments need to be carefully considered, for all their ramifications, if we are to ensure that environmental impacts are minimised. This is where sound planning comes in and we hope our contribution will bring about some lasting and positive results.”