The Danish embassy in Vietnam on Friday signed an agreement with the Mekong River Commission to fund its environment program over the next five years (2011-2015) with US$1.9 million.
Denmark is the largest donor to the MRC, an inter-governmental body founded by an agreement in 1995 between the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.
The four countries signed the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin and agreed on joint management of their shared water resources as well as development of the economic potential of the river.
For the 2011-2015 period, MRC will focus on ensuring that "Basin management and development in the Lower Mekong Basin is guided by up to date environmental and social knowledge and efficient environmental management cooperation mechanisms".
This objective directly responds to the Goal of the MRC Strategic Plan 2011-2015 by combining the use of monitoring information, cooperation mechanisms, capacity building and awareness rising, an MRC release said.
"˜A large part of 65 million people who live in the lower Mekong Basin earns their income from small scale agriculture and fisheries and is completely dependent on the river to sustain their livelihoods.
"The Mekong River Commission has a key role to play in safeguarding the river's sustainable development. By committing to the MRC programmes, Denmark confirms our commitment to the millions of poor people who make their living from the Mekong Basin's natural resources.' said John Nielsen, Danish Ambassador in Vietnam, said at the signing ceremony today.
With the latest agreement, Denmark has provided a total grant of US$6.5 million to the MRC, including a grant of $4.6 million to the MRC fisheries program (2011-2015). The Scandinavian nation is also processing an application for approximately US$ 8 million for the MRC Basin Development Plan Program (2011-2015).
An embassy release said that apart from supporting the MRC, Denmark also donated US$150, 000 in October for flood victims in the central province of Ha Tinh's Can Loc District.