Consolidating transboundary water cooperation in the Lower Mekong Basin

Project description

Title: Transboundary Water Cooperation in the Lower Mekong Basin
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Viet Nam
Lead executing agency: The Mekong River Commission (MRC)
Overall term: 2019 to 2021



More than 60 million people in the Lower Mekong Basin depend on its water resources for their livelihoods in fisheries and agriculture. The river has great economic significance for those living along the riverbanks, securing their food base and generating income.

However, the Mekong Basin faces numerous challenges to the sustainable development of the region. Rapid economic and demographic growth are exerting pressure on water resources as the demand for food, energy and manufactured goods rises.

The sustainable development and management of water resources in the Mekong Basin requires a better balance between economic, social and environmental interests. Given the transboundary nature of the Mekong Basin, shared by six countries, balance can only be achieved through cooperation, as the actions of one country impact other countries downstream.

In 1995, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam established the Mekong River Commission (MRC) as a mechanism for addressing the development opportunities and challenges of the Lower Mekong Basin. The Commission works to improve the sustainable management of water resources.


Cooperation between riparian countries in the Lower Mekong Basin is improved with the support of the Mekong River Commission.


GIZ assists the MRC in addressing the development challenges in the Mekong River Basin, especially sustainable hydropower development and climate change adaptation. The programme also supports the ongoing organisational development, including the decentralisation of various areas in the MRC and the financial management reform.

GIZ works directly with experts and managers of the MRC Secretariat and, where applicable, also provides support to the National Mekong Committees in each member state.

These approaches contribute towards consolidating cooperation between the riparian countries.

Last update: August 2021