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Addressing Climate Change in the Mekong-Ganges Region

Addressing Climate Change in the Mekong-Ganges Region

The newfound attention on climate change at the MGC is a recent development, but a necessary one.

Following the 11th Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) meeting on July 21, the foreign ministers of the MGC’s six member countries (Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) agreed on the need to increase cooperation on sustainable water resource management. The ministers pledged to enhance technical cooperation in water resource management, share experiences, enhance human resource development, and improve the capacity of integrated water resource management systems. The need to prioritize climate change-related issues in the Mekong-Ganges basin was first addressed in the 10th MGC ministerial meeting, in which the foreign ministers decided to focus on climate change as a new area of cooperation, particularly stressing water resource management as the starting point.

According to the MGC plan of action adopted in 2019 for 2019-2022, steps regarding climate change were to be followed by undertaking collaborative projects in the areas of climate change adaptation, flood and drought management, disaster mitigation, and water resource management. India for its part offered to organize trainings and workshops for MGC countries’ professionals at the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. This marked a fundamental change for the MGC, whose initial purpose, when it was formed in November 2000, was to focus on four traditional areas of cooperation: tourism, culture, education, and transport and communications.

The newfound attention to climate change might be a recent development, but it is a necessary one. The shift at the MGC has come at a crucial time, when the immediate effects of climate change are increasingly being seen throughout the world, with the Mekong-Ganges region no exception.

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