Mekong River Commission (MRC) – Contribution to the basket fund for the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2021-2025


The Mekong River Commission is the only treaty-based intergovernmental organisation for the Mekong River Basin with a clear mandate for integrated water resources management, procedures and tools to support equitable use of water and address transboundary issues. Switzerland with its experience in water diplomacy and management contributes to the implementation of the new Basin Development Strategy (2021-2030) and Strategic Plan (2021-2025) through the multi-donor Basket Fund. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mekong
Water
Governance
Other
Water diplomacy and security
Public sector policy
Sector not specified
01.03.2021 - 31.12.2025
CHF 5'235'000
Background Over recent decades, rapid development of hydropower projects, economic gains and increasing urbanisation have contributed to socio-economic development, including greater access to electricity. However, gains have not been equally distributed, creating substantial challenges to the sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin. The potential for further development of water resources and hydropower projects remains a priority for some riparian countries to support socio-economic development. China responds to this by expanding its influence through continued investments in the hydropower and energy sector and promoting the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation as a coordinating body. To manage the aspirations of the four member states of the Mekong River Commission (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam) while containing China’s advance will require a more proactive regional planning approach; in particular, when it comes to addressing long-term needs of water for safe consumption, food and energy production, transport, trade – all on the background of more frequent and more extreme draughts and floods due to climate change. As the only Mekong Basin intergovernmental body, the Mekong River Commission continues to play a key role in coordinating with and in providing technical supports to riparian countries and other stakeholders. 
Objectives The Vision of the Mekong River Commission identified among the riparian countries as a shared long-term aspiration is “an economically prosperous, socially just and environmentally sound, and climate resilient Mekong River Basin”. This is coherent with SDC’s Mekong Regional Strategy (2018-2021) in building inclusive societies through equitable and sustainable development and democratic governance. Based on the implementation, lessons learned and evaluation of its current Strategic Plan, the Mekong River Commission will shift its focus to facilitate more proactive regional planning in order to increase regional benefits and reduce regional costs.  
Target groups Primary beneficiaries will be MRC Member Countries and MRC organization and staff. Secondary beneficiaries include regional and national stakeholders from the private sector and civil society. End beneficiaries shall include the poor and vulnerable communities, men and women relying on the Mekong River and tributaries for livelihood and income.
Medium-term outcomes

While all 11 key outcomes listed in the Strategic Plan 2021-25 are of importance, some correspond more to SDC’s Mekong Regional Strategy (2018-2021): 

Outcome 2.1: Social – Strengthened food, water and energy security for basin community well-being.

Outcome 2.2: Social – Increased employment and reduced poverty among vulnerable people dependent on river and wetland resources.

Outcome 3.2: Economic – Enhanced inclusive growth and sustainability in irrigated agriculture, hydropower, navigation, environment and fisheries sectors.

Outcome 4.1: Climate Change – Better informed and prepared basin communities. 

Outcome 5.1: Cooperation – Strengthened Mekong River Commission. 

Results

Expected results:  

Out of the 28 key outputs of the Strategic Plan 202125, the following outcomes are considered to be most in line with SDC’s current Mekong Regional Strategy:

2.1.4 Gender and vulnerability addressed.

3.1.1 Basin Development Plan.

3.2.2 Sustainable hydropower.

4.1.1 Core monitoring network.

4.1.2 Integrated data and information systems.

4.2.3 Climate change adaptation, flood and drought management mainstreamed.

5.1.1: Implementation of the MRC Procedures.

5.1.2 Organisational development of the Mekong River Commission.

5.2.1 Common understanding on Mekong institutions.

5.2.4: Joint Basin Expert Groups.

5.2.5: basin-wide stakeholder platform. 


Results from previous phases:  

- One main results of the past Mekong River Com-mission Strategic Plan 2016-2020 is the successful transition to become a leaner expert organization, fully self-funded by Member Countries by 2030. 

- The organisation has made good progress in im-plementing the Decentralisation Roadmap and finalized the Basin Development Strategy 2021-2030 and the Strategic Plan 2021-2025. 

- Member Countries have consistently involved and applied Mekong River Commission procedures to mitigate transboundary impacts in basin planning and implementation. 

- Another key result is the progress of stakeholder engagement through different channels including regional and national forums, meetings with INGOs and with private actors.  

- The partnership with China has been positively strengthened with an agreement on the provision of year-round data from China and the collaboration on the Lancang-Mekong Information Sharing Platform.  


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Other International Organization
  • Other OI


Coordination with other projects and actors Inclusive Water Governance Project (Oxfam and International Rivers), Future Project on Dam Safety in Laos; Global Program Water (GPW)’ BRIDGE (IUCN); WWF project funded by SDC International Partnership Division; DRAW (Action Aid and PIN) financed by SDC Humanitarian Aid Hub in Bangkok; PCAsia.  
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   5'235'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   0 Budget inclusive project partner CHF   54'428'669
Project phases Phase 2 01.03.2021 - 31.12.2025   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.06.2016 - 31.12.2020   (Completed)