Governance and Organisational Structure

Every year, environment and water ministers of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam meet to discuss emerging issues related to the Lower Mekong Basin. As Council Members of the Mekong River Commission, they convene to review and come to mutual conclusions on the management and development of water and related resources within the framework of the 1995 Mekong Agreement.

Then, the MRC Joint Committee, which comprises senior officials at no less than Head of Department level of the four countries, and supported by national line agencies including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, takes these decisions and policies forward by putting them into actions. The committee meets twice a year and reports to the Council. It functions as a Board of Management.

The MRC Secretariat is the operational arm of the organisation and performs technical and administrative functions under the management of a Chief Executive Officer. It facilitates regional meetings of the Member Countries and provides technical advice on joint planning, coordination and cooperation. It also works closely with the four countries’ coordinating bodies, the National Mekong Committees (NMCs), and other state agencies. The People’s Republic of China and the Union of Myanmar engage as Dialogue Partners.


A new structure for the Secretariat and a leaner, more efficient MRC:

At the first MRC Summit held in Hua Hin, Thailand, in 2010, the Heads of Government of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam decided that by 2030, the MRC Secretariat (MRCS) would be financially self-sustained by the Member Countries. They also encouraged the MRC to explore modalities for the transfer of the implementation and financing responsibilities of some river basin management activities to the Member Countries. This was the start of the ongoing organisational structure of the MRC.

Up until December 2015, the Secretariat’s structure consisted of 12 programmes under four divisions, operating out of two main offices with a staff of approximately 180 people, and a budget of US$20 million, mostly from donor governments (Development Partners). In line with the ongoing structural and operational reform, as well as the new Strategic Plan 2016-2020, the MRC has set up a transitional structure to gradually prepare for the final structure that could be in place already by 2020.

The MRC Council approved the new structure at its 22nd Meeting, in January 2016. It consists of the Office of the Chief Executive Officer (OCEO) and four Divisions: Administration Division (AD), Planning Division (PD), Environmental Management Division (ED), and Technical Support (Division). It will have 66 professional and support staff.  


The MRC has three core functions:

  1. Secretariat, Administrative and Management Functions: promotion of dialogue and communication; reporting and dissemination; stakeholder engagement and communications/public information. These correspond to the corporate services of most organisations, and the Office of the Chief Executive Office, and the Administrative Division carry out these functions at the MRC Secretariat.

  2. Core River Basin Management Functions (CRBMF: These are divided into five categories:
    i)   Data acquisition, exchange and monitoring
    ii)  Analysis, modelling and assessment
    iii)  Planning support
    iv)  Forecasting, warning, and emergency
    v)  Implementation of the five MRC Procedures

    The CRBMF comprise the main technical work of the MRC under the Planning, Environmental Management, and Technical Support divisions. 

  3. Consulting and Advisory services: provision of technical expertise, databases, models, expert networks to support studies undertaken outside of the MRC, etc. Unlike the other core functions, these services are self-financed.


    Members of the MRC Council


    H.E. Mr. Lim Kean Hor
    Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology
    Chairperson of Cambodia National Mekong Committee
    Member of the MRC Council for Cambodia


    General Surasak Karnjanarat
    Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
    Chairperson of Thai National Mekong Committee 
    Member of the MRC Council for Thailand 


    H.E. Mr. Sommad Pholsena 
    Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment 
    Chairperson of Lao National Mekong Committee
    Member of the MRC Council for the Lao PDR
    Chairperson of the MRC Council for 2016


    H.E. Dr. Tran Hong Ha 
    Minister of Natural Resources and Environment
    Chairperson of Viet Nam National Mekong Committee
    Member of the MRC Council for Viet Nam


    Members of the MRC Joint Committee


    H.E. Mr. Te Navuth
    Secretary General
    Cambodia National Mekong Committee Secretariat
    Member of the MRC Joint Committee for Cambodia


    Mr. Worasart Apaipong
    Director General
    Department of Water Resources 
    Secretary General
    Thai National Mekong Committee Secretariat
    Member of the MRC Joint Committee for Thailand
    Chairperson of the MRC Joint Committee for 2016

    LAO. P.D.R

    Mr. Inthavy Akkharath
    Acting Secretary General 
    Lao National Mekong Committee  Secretariat
    Member of the MRC Joint Committee for Lao P.D.R





    Dr. Le Duc Trung
    Director General
    Viet Nam National Mekong Committee Secretariat
    Member of the MRC Joint Committee for Viet Nam




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