Agencies from all over the Lower Mekong region will get ready for the coming flood season at the first Annual Mekong Flood Forum next week, from 23 to 24 April at the Cambodiana Hotel in Phnom Penh.
The Flood Forum will bring together over 50 key disaster-preparedness and development agencies from the region. Among them will be government agencies, donors, UN agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs), as well as external flood experts.
The Flood Forum is convened by the Mekong River Commission, an intergovernmental agency set up by its four member countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. The four countries have established the Flood Forum in response to heavy flooding along the Mekong in the years 2000 and 2001, which caused severe infrastructure damage and crop losses. In the year 2000, more than 800 people died in the floods, and damage was estimated at over US$400 million in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam.
The Annual Mekong Flood Forum is the first such event in the region. It is financed by the Japan-based 3rd World Water Forum and the Netherlands government.
The aim of the Flood Forum is to provide a platform for all participating agencies to learn from shared experiences, discuss emerging needs and coordinate their flood mitigation activities. It will also raise awareness of the importance of holistic flood management in the Lower Mekong River Basin.
Although seasonal flooding in the Lower Mekong Basin causes millions of dollars worth of damage every year, flooding also brings many benefits, including increased fish production, soil fertility and improved biodiversity. Major agencies working in disaster preparedness now recognize that floods cannot be prevented, but that much of the damage can be mitigated by early warning systems and better land-use planning measures.
"Flood Preparedness" is the theme of this year's Forum. Mapping of all agencies' activities has been carried out before the workshop, in order to support regional integration of flood-related activities in time for the coming flood season.
- The Mekong Flood Forum will be launched by His Excellency Mr Khy Tainglim, Minister of Public Works and Transport, Cambodia, and member of the MRC Council, at 8 am on 23 April at the Cambodiana Hotel ballroom. The Japanese Ambassador to Cambodia, His Excellency Mr Ogawa Gotaro, will speak at the opening.
For further information, call:
Delia Paul, Communications Officer
Phone: (855-23)720-979 ext 2017 or (012)807-979