New MRC CEO names efficiency as key priority

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The new Chief Executive Officer of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) has described the intergovernmental organisation of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam as a big ship, which requires a new navigational system so that it can function more efficiently.

 “The MRC is like a big ship with a huge knowledge of the river it has travelled through, but I see that a new navigational system is required to move this ship more efficiently,” Dr An Pich Hatda said last week.

“I am grateful for this noble opportunity to steer the wheel and I am fully committed to lead and inspire my crew as the captain.”

Dr Hatda, who is Cambodian, made the statement after replacing Vietnam’s Mr Pham Tuan Phan as the top manager of the MRC last week. He is the second CEO of this regional inter-governmental organisation, which is mandated to manage the Mekong River and its resources.

The MRC Ministerial Council approved the appointment of Dr Hatda as the new CEO at a regional conference held in Vietnam at the end of last year. The appointment was made based on a recommendation from the MCR’s joint committee.

The MCR council and its joint committee comprise senior representatives from the four member countries - Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to a media release from the MRC, Dr Hatda will lead the Commission in expediting the implementation and completion of the current strategic plan for 2016-2020 and lead the basin development strategy and strategic plan for the next period.

A Mekong citizen with extensive international experience, Dr Hatda is not new to the Commission or its work.

He served as the MRC Secretariat’s Planning Division Director from 2016 to 2019, where he led the strengthening of cooperation among the member countries in implementing the MRC’s Procedures and the role of the Secretariat.

He was also the organisation’s Operations Manager at the Regional Flood Management and Mitigation Centre from 2005 to 2010 and the National Specialist with the Basin Development Plan Programme from 2002-2005.

Dr Hatda is also familiar with how the national Mekong committees operate and the political complexities involved, having been Deputy Secretary General himself for several years with the Cambodia National Mekong Committee. He also served as Alternate Member of the MRC Joint Committee.

“His previous tenure at the MRC and its governing body ensures a sound knowledge of the critical issues facing the organisation and will allow him to effectively guide it during a critical juncture in this rapidly changing area,” says a media release from the MRC.

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