HUA HIN, Thailand - The first Mekong River Commission (MRC) Summit was held Monday in Thailand's seaside resort town Hua Hin as the participants' discussion focused on enhancing transboundary cooperation for long-term sustainability.
In his opening speech, Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said, "This Summit is sending a strong message that all countries in the Mekong River basin in both its upper and lower parts are stakeholders. And we all have to take joint responsibility for its long-term sustainability for present as well as for future generations."
Currently, the Mekong River is being threatened by serious problems arising from both unsustainable use of water and the effects of climate change, Abhisit said.
One significant problem that has been affecting the people along the Mekong River is the decrease of the water level and shortage of water supply, pollution, and depletion of natural resources in the Mekong River, he cited.
Abhisit stressed transboundary cooperation is vital when a resource is shared by more than one country.
In this regard, he expressed his gratefulness to China as its Ministry of Water Resources had decided to provide the MRC Secretariat with hydrological data of Yunjinhong and Manan stations in southwest China's Yunnan province to facilitate drought-disaster relief of the downstream countries during this year's drought.
Laos's Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh said, the summit is "historically meaningful" as it is aimed to enhance the sustainable use and development of the Mekong River for the population living along the river.
Bouasone said technology is essential to support the shared attempts among the country members to enhance cooperation for the future sustainability.
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung echoed the other leaders' statements saying "the cooperation has already been good, while we expect further development and cooperation with four member countries and dialogue partners."
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen also addressed on the meeting. Song Tao, China's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, who attended the summit as a representative of China, the MRC's Dialogue Partner, delivered a speech on China's willingness to boost cooperation and mutual trust with lower Mekong countries.
The MRC Summit, the first ever since the commission is set up by four lower Mekong countries -- Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam -- 15 years ago, issued "MRC Hua Hin Declaration" as its ending.