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08 April 2010

Mekong River Commission addresses drought

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Officials from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos -- member countries of the Mekong River Commission -- called for greater cooperation from China in managing the Mekong River

The four countries signed a declaration Monday pledging to intensify cooperation to better manage the Mekong and reduce risks from floods and drought.

But they expressed concern over eight dams China has planned along the river in southwestern Yunnan province, the Hindu newspaper reports.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in opening the two-day MRC summit Sunday in Hua Hin warned that the Mekong River "will not survive" without good management.

Abhisit said the river was "being threatened by serious problems arising from both the unsustainable use of water and the effects of climate change."

"This summit is sending a message that all the countries in the Mekong Region, both its upper and lower parts, are stakeholders, and we all have to take joint responsibility for its long-term sustainability," he said.

Abhisit seemed to be making an allusion to the Xiaowan Dam, which China is building on the upper Mekong, its fourth such dam.

But Beijing rejected accusations that its hydropower development is harming the river basin.


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