Diplomacy is indispensable to manage the Mekong

Milton Osborne mischaracterises the Mekong River Commission when writing last month in The Interpreter that the regional organisation “ignores reality”. To say we were “celebrating” the health of the river at our Mekong Day event on 5 April overlooks the fact that on that day I continued to “sound the alarm” about the Mekong’s perilous condition nowadays.

Indeed, I said so directly in my inaugural “State of the Mekong” Address I delivered on the Mekong Day as CEO of the MRC Secretariat: “I wish I could bring you only good news about the health of our river”. I went on to warn of the “unprecedented challenge” the Mekong now faces, after four straight years of low-flow – which hasn’t happened in 60 years. I then reminded the audience: “Some of this is caused by nature and climate-change, of course. But much is also human-made.”

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