The Mekong Research Symposium (MRS) concluded today in Hanoi, after three days of discussions and demonstrations of tools for drought and flood predictions, water resource management, and resilience building. The event, organised by the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP) as part of the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) from 16-18 December, brought together 160 participants from around the world, including participants from Australia, China, Singapore and the United States (US). At the close, participants agreed that MRS 2019 had successfully prioritised activities to strengthen collaboration within the region and with global partners, and had identified actions for science-based decision making. 

The three-day symposium highlighted the wealth of the Mekong as a transboundary river basin with diverse ecosystems, landscapes, populations and culture. Key activities at MRS 2019 were: 

  • Introduction of a pilot version of the water data exchange platform,, as an initiative to lower the barriers to accessing water-related data
  • Demonstration of several practical models for stakeholders to understand the likely impacts of various water resource scenarios
  • Discussion on the need for Mekong water-related socio-economic data 
  • Announcement of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) water quality monitoring program that will take plastic pollution into account
  • Launch of the Stimson Center’s Mekong Infrastructure Tracker, a tracking tool and open platform for information on Mekong water, energy and transport infrastructure, containing details of more than 1,500 projects so far

MRS 2019 participants included representatives of governments, development partners, academia, international organizations, NGOs, and companies. More than one-third of participants were women. 

 In a post-event assessment survey, 92 percent of participants agreed that the symposium had met its objectives, and 96 percent agreed that they had gained knowledge from the symposium. Participants indicated they were most interested in climate forecasting and modeling, flood and drought prediction, cumulative impact assessment, and socio-economic data. 

The next MRS is tentatively planned to take place in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in 2020. 

All PowerPoint presentations from the conference can be found here.