Joint Statement To Strengthen Water Data Management and Information Sharing in The Lower Mekong
August 4, 2018
The Ministers/Representatives of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam (hereafter referred to as the “Lower Mekong Countries”); the European Union, the Governments of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, and the United States; and the World Bank (hereafter referred to as the “Development Partners”); and Mekong River Commission (MRC), collectively referred to as “the Participants,”
In the spirit of promoting continued cooperation to support inclusive and sustainable development among the Lower Mekong Countries;
Recalling the Siem Reap Declaration from the 3rd Mekong River Commission Summit and the country statements to prioritize the strengthening of data and information management systems through joint efforts and partnerships;
Recalling the Ministerial Declaration from the 10th Meeting of the Lower Mekong Initiative to renew and strengthen efforts to provide sound, sufficient, and timely data for sustainably managing water-related resources and for reducing risks related to extreme events;
Recognizing the critical role of the MRC as a facilitator of data and information sharing and as a regional knowledge hub to promote cooperation on science-based decision making for development activities for the Mekong River Basin;
Recognizing that the Mekong’s environmental issues are transboundary by nature, and therefore require regional approaches to development, monitoring, and management of scientific data;
Acknowledging ongoing efforts to improve national and regional databases including progress towards the implementation of the MRC Procedures for Data and Information Exchange and Sharing (PDIES);
Noting that data capacity needs persist across countries and within national and regional institutions and that the demand for data products and services is outpacing abilities to generate, analyze, share, and apply data, especially as challenges related to development of significant projects in the Mekong’s mainstream, increasing populations, urbanization, changing land use, and climate change continue to emerge;
Noting that, at the same time, the Lower Mekong Countries have tremendous capacity and are the primary collectors and managers of real-time data in the region;
Noting also the critical need of these products and the analyses that derive from them to save lives and livelihoods, protect ecosystems, reduce costs, and increase opportunities for economic development at all levels; and
Taking into account and building off global and regional efforts to strengthen data availability and management including the World Water Data Initiative, and the Group of Earth Observation initiative, in accordance with the laws and regulations on the collection and transfer of data;
Do hereby endeavor to:
a. Strengthen the individual capacity of the Lower Mekong Countries to collect, analyze and manage water (quality and quantity; surface and ground), land, and weather data and information products for the purposes of reducing water-related risks, improving regional responses to environmental emergencies, and promoting sustainable economic development across the water, food, energy, and environment nexus.
b. Strengthen the capacity of the MRC to collect and analyze globally accessible datasets, remote sensing, and other real-time data to support flood, drought, and extreme event forecasting; basin-wide water resources; hydrological modelling; and impact analysis tools.
c. Strengthen the implementation of the PDIES and build the MRC’s capacity to facilitate data access and data exchange.
d. When requested by data users, and with the permission of the data providers, seek to make data and data analysis/management tools more readily available.
e. Within Lower Mekong Countries and with the support of Development Partners, review existing data policies and national data management frameworks; increase investments in data collection (both in-situ and remote sensing) and data services and related Research and Innovation activities, including relevant socio-economic information; work to ensure key data functions are appropriately staffed and resourced; establish mechanisms for improving data access, data sharing, and data use across sector ministries; improve national capacity level on hydrological modelling and forecasting as well as integrated tools across the nexus of water, food, energy and the environment, including tools for impact analysis of development projects and strategic environmental assessments.
f. Promote common procedures and practices throughout the region for data collection, storage and analysis to support data sharing and integration of existing data management systems based on voluntary participation of countries and institutions.
g. Recommend new opportunities for public-private partnerships to expand data access, improve management of data and knowledge resources, and introduce advanced technologies.
h. Promote the sharing of generated information, best practices, and lessons learned to related stakeholders at a level comfortable for participating countries and institutions.
i. Continue to coordinate Participants’ efforts to implement this plan by leveraging support and resources through greater collaboration between various sub-national, national, and regional processes and programs, civil society organizations, and multilateral institutions.
j. Strengthen the capacity of the Lower Mekong Countries with the support of Development Partners to install real-time water level and rainfall observation stations and to upgrade the early warning system.
Participants may revise, amend, or modify any part of or all of this joint statement at any time by mutual written consent.
This joint statement does not constitute a fiscal or funds obligation document. The Participants understand that any activities contemplated under this joint statement are subject to the availability of funds and other resources. This joint statement is not legally binding and does not create any rights or obligations under international law or the domestic laws of the Participants.
All references in the above to 'data' are understood as referring to data other than personal data.
H.E. Sok Siphana, Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Kingdom of Cambodia
H.E. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lao People’s Democratic Republic
H.E. U Kyaw Tin, Union Minister for International Cooperation, Republic of the Union of Myanmar
H.E. Don Pramudwinai, Foreign Minister, Kingdom of Thailand
H.E. Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State, United States of America
H.E. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
H.E. Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia
H.E. Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Union
Toshihide Ando, Deputy Director-General, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan
H.E. Winston Peters, Minister of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand
H.E. Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea
Jyoti Shukla, Director, Infrastructure and Urban Development Hub, World Bank Group
Pham Tuan Phan, Chief Executive Officer, Mekong River Commission
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell published an article titled "Why the Mekong Region Matters to the United States, ASEAN, and the Indo-Pacific" in the Cambodia Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP) Journal of Greater Mekong Studies.
On January 12, the United States and Vietnam co-hosted the first Friends of the Mekong Policy Dialogue under the new Mekong-U.S. Partnership. In his remarks, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Ambassador Atul Keshap emphasized that the United States is committed to a secure, open, and prosperous Mekong region, highlighting the importance of this region to ASEAN centrality and to the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. The 17 participating countries and institutions under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership and the Friends of the Mekong offered recommendations on sustainable infrastructure development and connectivity; human resource development and building the foundations for a Mekong digital economy; sustainable water, natural resource management, and environmental protection; and COVID response and regional collaboration on health security.
The Mekong-U.S. Partnership is a multinational partnership among Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, and the United States to create integrated cooperation among the five Lower Mekong countries. Learn more >