Cambodia Wins MRC’s Writing Competition

Cambodian nationals have won the first and fourth place of a writing competition organised by the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to celebrate the shared value and resources of the Mekong River and raise awareness of the importance of coordinated planning and management of this river basin.

The award ceremony took place yesterday in Vientiane, Lao PDR, said the MRC in a press release dated July 24.

According to the same source, the winners of the writing competition are five Mekong citizens who were selected from a group of more than 300 writers who had entered the competition, which had posted the question What does the Mekong mean to you?. Cambodian nationals secured the first and fourth place, landing them prizes of US$300 and US$50, respectively. Mekong citizens from Thailand, Viet Nam, and Lao PDR came second, third, and fifth place, respectively, winning US$50 each. Seven others were awarded as runners-up and received certificates of recognition.

These winners pointed out the sheer value of the Mekong River and the important role of the MRC while receiving their awards at the MRC Secretariat in Vientiane.

The Mekong River is a source of life, a magical spell to it. It feeds millions of mouths and can only be sustained through the role of the organisation such as the MRC, said Ms. Uy Lim Ung, an undergrad student from Cambodia's Institute of Foreign Languages, who won the first prize.

The Mekong River drives the region's economy and nurtures life. It's much like blood vessels which consist of nutrient that gives life to every organ. I couldn't imagine what would happen if there was no existence of the Mekong River Commission, the fifth-place winner Ms. Souliphone Dalavong of Lao PDR said at the ceremony, which saw more than 80 people attend, including students and lecturers from the National University of Laos and MRC Secretariat staff.

While presenting the awards to the winners at the ceremony, MRC CEO Mr. Pham Tuan Phan said he was impressed by the value the contestants placed on the river and the strong connection they had with it.

I've seen through those hundreds of stories how crucial the Mekong River is and what strong ties people have to it. This drives us and tells us why our cooperation matters in protecting and developing the river responsibly and, most importantly, why MRC matters, CEO Pham said.

MRC Development Partners, who also attended the event, joined the CEO's appreciation. Mr. Ounheuan Saiyasith from the Australian Embassy in Vientiane said he was pleased to hear how the winners and so many contestants viewed the importance of the river.

These heart-warming stories make our collective work come alive. To preserve this value and to strike the right balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability is no easy job at all. The MRC deserves as much support as it can.

The writing competition, which ran early this year, was open to citizens and residents of all ages from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It aimed to celebrate the Mekong Day � the day when the Mekong Agreement was signed in 1995 � and to raise awareness of the importance of coordinated planning and management of the Mekong River basin. Contestants were asked to submit an entry of no more than 60 words in either English or their native language.

All the 12 winning entries were displayed at the recent MRC International Conference and during the Mekong Day and presented to leaders of the Mekong countries at the 3rd MRC Summit. They will also be featured in other products of the MRC.

This is the first regional writing competition organised by the MRC, and it follows the commission's first photo contest, which was organised late last year and saw 165 entries from 42 amateur photographers.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press