Mekong River Basin Regional Legal Framework
The Mekong River is a transboundary river in Southeast Asia draining a basin covering approximately 800,000 km2. At an estimated length of 4,350 km, it is the world’s 12th longest river and the 7th longest in Asia. The river rises on the Tibetan Plateau and runs through China’s Yunnan province, Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam where it discharges into the South China Sea. The origins of transnational and transboundary management of the main channel and its tributaries date from the late 1950s, culminating in 1995 with the signing of the Mekong Agreement by Thailand, Lao PDR, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The agreement codified principles of regional cooperation and established the Mekong River Commission (MRC). Under the agreement, MRC member countries agree to cooperate in all fields of sustainable development and in the utilization, management, and conservation of water and related resources in the Mekong River Basin. The MRC has a three-tiered institutional structure comprising a Ministerial Council, a Joint Committee, and a Secretariat.
KeywordsMekong River International agreement Transboundary management Transnational cooperation
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