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Friday, December 31, 2010

KOICA, UN to help Cambodia develop Mekong River

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KOICA, UN to help Cambodia develop Mekong River
Source: Korean Time
12-31-2010 17:13
KOICA, UN to help Cambodia develop Mekong River
The Cambodian section of the Mekong River undergoes various different international projects that are design to better manage the water system and improve the quality of water. Korea and UNICO have agreed to provide assistance to that project. / Korea Times file

By Kim Se-jeong

Korea and the United Nations will help Cambodia improve the water quality of the Mekong River and reduce the negative impacts from industrial activities through environmental technology.

The agreement was signed between the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on Dec. 29 in Vienna.

KOICA pledged to donate $900,000 to set up a trust fund, which UNIDO will use to implement the project.

The project will identify, assess and prioritize “hot spots” and transfer environmentally sound technologies to the Cambodian section of the river.

Implementation will be done in collaboration with the host government.

An official from KOICA said the project will be implemented within 2011.

As the biggest agency executing Korea’s international development aid, KOICA has initiated several other projects in partnership with international organizations.

Early last month, it signed a memorandum of understanding with UNICEF to help Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo reduce child mortality.

The scale and scope of KOICA’s work have been expanding, especially after Korea joined the Development Assistance Committee under the OECD, a group of large international development donors, in 2009.

The Korean government has been vigorously working to reach a donation level of 0.7 percent of gross annual national income.

The $900,000 for Cambodia will be coming from the East Asia Climate Partnership (EACP), which was established in 2008.

Steered by KOICA, the EACP had $200 million allocated to help developing Asian nations combat climate change by 2012.

KOICA runs projects, either working directly with the recipient country or with a third party from an international organization.

It also conducts extensive research in the recipient country, and hosts venues for dialogue and discussion on climate change-related subjects.

The biggest EACP project is a water development aid project in Mongolia, Azerbaijan and the Philippines.

Started a few months, approximately $69 million will be spent to build wells, insulate water reservoirs, establish water recycling and sewage systems, and construct dams and spillways in the three countries.

The Mekong runs through six countries in the region and is one of the world’s biggest rivers.

China that occupies the upper stream of the river is contemplating constructing dams, which will leave Cambodia vulnerable, as its population heavily relies on it for food and commerce.

The Mekong River Commission, an intergovernmental body, has for decades monitored activities on the river so as to “promote and coordinate sustainable management and development of water and related resources for the countries’ mutual benefit and the people’s well-being by implementing strategic programs and activities and providing scientific information and policy advice.”

The UNIDO helps developing countries introduce sustainable growth through clean technology and environmental agreements.

The Cambodian Embassy in Seoul wasn’t available for comment for this article. 


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