MRC Welcomes China’s Pledge to Share More Mekong Data

AKP Phnom Penh, August 25, 2020 —

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has welcomed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s pledge to share year-round hydrological data with the four Lower Mekong countries.

In a statement, the MRC Secretariat said Li offered to start sharing the data “from this year” during a Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) meeting Monday with the leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

“We welcome Prime Minister Li’s pledge,” said An Pich Hatda, chief executive at the MRC secretariat in Vientiane.

But “it will be important to discuss exactly what the data includes and how it is to be shared,” he added.

The statement said China had been providing the MRC with water-level and rainfall data from Jinghong on the Mekong mainstream and Manan on a tributary since 2003.

But the Chinese data is shared only during the flood season from June to October.

The statement noted that Li expressed China’s desire to establish an “information-sharing platform” with the five other Mekong countries.

“The Chinese side will play a major role in putting in place a platform that will be fully open to all six Mekong countries,” he was quoted as saying.

Dr Hatda said the four Lower Mekong countries — Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam — already had a data and information-sharing platform.

What’s missing is the same level of data and information from the Upper Mekong Basin in China and Myanmar.

“Any future platform development should not overlook the knowledge base and system that the MRC has built and raised over the past six decades since the Mekong Committee was founded in 1957,” Dr Hatda said.

Establishing such a platform is “complex, lengthy, costly, and even more difficult to maintain.”

Any data shared under the LMC framework should be in close collaboration with the MRC Secretariat “so that we can connect the two platforms effectively,” he said.

By Sao Da