Samdech Norodom Sirivudh
Founder and Chairman, Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace
The Third CSCAP Meeting on Water Resources Security in Japan
Tokyo, February 4-5, 2012
On behalf of CSCAP-Cambodia, I would like to thank CSCAP-Japan for hosting this third CSCAP Meeting on Water Resources Security.
We have successfully conducted two meetings in Vietnam and Cambodia. Now we are going deepen and elaborate on our previous discussion. We don’t want to repeat what we have said but rather we will talk and discuss on new dimensions and approaches and try to consolidate our common approaches to ensure water resource security in the region.
One of the things that we need to discuss in this panel is related to the issue of transparency. All of us agree that transparency is essential to build trust and confidences among the countries sharing common resources, in this case the Mekong River. Transparency is essential part of good governance and management of the trans-boundary water resources.
So we need to urge all countries concerned to strictly respect the principle of transparency for the sake of common interests. National interests need to be balanced with regional interests. The Mekong River belongs to all countries in the Mekong Subregion and it is an international river.
Data sharing especially in the dry seasons is crucial for water resources management and disaster prevention and management. Recently, our region has faced with disastrous flooding. Learning from such experiences, early warning system needs to be effectively implemented based on information and data gathering of rainfall in the mountainous areas and water flow patterns of the upper stream of the Mekong River.
Exchanges of experts and engineers among the countries sharing the Mekong River need to be improved and further promoted particularly the visits to the hydropower dams construction sites.
Scientific data sharing needs to be promoted based on the available data and information.
Upper-lower Mekong countries need to create an open channel of information sharing. Institutionalization of data sharing can be a tool promoting transparency.
At least three actors should get involved in water resources management. I call it triangle actors: Public, Private, and Civil Society Organizations. Information sharing needs to go through these triangle actors.
Scientific researches on the impact assessment of the hydropower dams need to be done in a transparent and inclusive manner.
I am personally grateful to Japanese people and government for taking bold steps in conducting an assessment on the Xayaburi dam project. We hope that the results of the study will be reflected into the sustainable management of the water resources and biodiversity.
Such kind of model can be followed for other hydropower dams construction projects along the mainstream of the Mekong River.
To address any problem, we need to respect the principle of transparency and participation of the key actors. Without which we will have conflict. Institutionalization of data sharing is necessary step towards water resources security.