Basin Development Plan Programme

The MRC’s Basin Development Plan (BDP) Programme complemented national planning processes and aimed to ensure that the use of the basin’s water and related resources contributes to sustainable economic development, with poverty alleviation as a primary goal.

Understanding basin development planning begins with the environmental, social and economic issues the river faces. It also requires understanding riparian countries’ interests and assisting with the mutual utilisation of the river for each MRC Member Country.

Addressing basin-wide development needs & water security – the new BDP Strategy

Approved by the Council of Ministers in January 2016, the Basin Development Strategy 2016-2020 replaces the first ever IWRM-based Strategy 2011-2015. The new Strategy builds on progress achieved under the previous one, much of it through the implementation of the MRC Strategic Plan and the National Indicative Plans (NIPs) of the MRC Member Countries during 2011-2015, leading to the realisation of development opportunities, reduction of knowledge gaps, harmonisation of regional and national planning, leveraging of funding, and the institutional reform of the MRC. For the next five years, the BDS prioritises further reducing remaining knowledge gaps to minimise risks, optimising basin-wide sustainable development and cost and benefit sharing, strengthening the protection of mutually agreed environmental assets, strengthening basin-wide procedures and national implementation capacity, improving national water resources development, enhancing information management, communication and tools, and increasing cooperation with partners and stakeholders. 

A basin-wide approach to development

With the future of the Mekong’s water resources in mind, the BDP Programme successfully developed basin-wide development scenario assessments.

Scenarios provide a structured method for comparing future water resource development and management options. They also provide information that governments and other stakeholders need in order to identify the most acceptable compromise between resource development and resource protection in various parts of the basin. As part of basin-wide planning, development scenarios have bolstered trust and cooperation among Mekong countries.

Recent assessments of basin-wide development scenarios covered a range of environmental, social, and economic criteria. The scenario assessments provided, for the first time, information the Member Countries need to address their concerns and develop a shared understanding of the opportunities and risks of further water resources development.

These assessments are presented in a 14-volume report, comprising a main report and 13 technical reports. A link to the main report is provided below. The supporting technical reports are available upon request. Please send a message to

More information 

Main Report of the Assessment of Basin-wide Development Scenarios, April 2011

Working together towards a common goal

Fisher groups in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap, ship captains in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta, farmers on the river banks of Lao PDR, and river based organisations in Thailand all have one common interest: the sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin’s water resources.

As part of the Basin’s development process, the BDP promoted participation and joint cooperation among groups of stakeholders throughout the region through activities such as annual regional stakeholder forums.

With over 250 community representatives, the BDP brought together researchers, development agencies, national and regional civil society organisations, government agencies and the private sector to discuss options available for the sustainable use of the Basin’s water resources, in 20082009 and 2010.

The MRC is extending its stakeholder engagement through participatory approaches, to ensure that national authorities listen to the concerns of the widest possible range of communities affected by potential basin development.

More related documents

Forum proceedings, November 2014

Programme document

Basin Action Plan, May 2013

Basin Development Strategy (Khmer), March 2013

Basin Development Strategy (Lao), 2013

Basin Development Strategy (Thai), 2013

Basin Development Strategy (Vietnamese), 2013

Basin Development Strategy (English), 2011

Integrated Water Resource Management in the Mekong Basin Training Manual, October 2011

Assessment of Basin-wide Development Scenarios (Main Report), April 2011

Working Towards an IWRM-Based Basin Development Strategy for the Lower Mekong Basin, March 2011

State of the Basin Report 2010 (main report)

Stakeholder Analysis for the MRC Basin Development Plan Programme Phase2, March 2010

Stakeholder Participation and Communication Plan for Basin Development Planning in the Lower Mekong Basin, July 2009

Regional Irrigation Sector Review for Joint Basin Planning Process, March 2009

Hydropower Sector Review for the Joint Basin Planning Process, February 2009

Procedures for the Maintenance of Flows on the Mainstream, June 2006

Related Topics

For more information about planning visit the Basin Planning Topic page.

BDP Tools

PMFM website

The webpage displays daily water flows during the wet and dry seasons at the selected hydrological stations along the mainstream. It is part of an information system for flood and drought monitoring and the implementation of actions related to emerging flow situations.


MRC socio-economic database

The objectives of the online socio-economic database are to support and strengthen the assessment of social impacts and opportunities, and monitoring of basin-wide socio-economic conditions in the Lower Mekong Basin.
The socio-economic database contains basin-wide official socio-economic data of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. At the moment the database contains data for more than 65 indicators.


Mekong Basin Maps

Map of the Lower Mekong Basin and Map of the Mekong River from Source to Sea visualize the locations and photos of the water and related resource development in the Mekong Basin, and the corresponding works of the MRC.

» Map of the Lower Mekong Basin

» Map of the Mekong River from Source to Sea

Related Tools

Mekong Watershed Information website

This website aims at maintaining and upgrading knowledge on watersheds management in the Lower Mekong Basin. It documents knowledge and information generated from past and current Watershed Management activities in the Lower Mekong Basin by MRC Watershed Management Project. 


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