Richard Grünwald

Lancang-Mekong Cooperation: Present and Future of the Mekong River Basin

(Lancangsko-Megonská Spolupráca: súčasnosť a budúcnosť povodí rieky Mekong)

Politické vedy, Volume 23, Number 2/2020, pages 69-97



Recommended form for quotation of the article / Odporúčaná forma citácie článku:
GRÜNWALD, R. 2020. Lancang-Mekong Cooperation: Present and Future of the Mekong River Basin. In Politické vedy. [online]. Vol. 23, No. 2, 2020. ISSN 1335 – 2741, pp. 69-97. Available at:


The main aim of this article is to analyse the role of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) ) and to explore current milestones and challenges in the context of regional water cooperation. The LMC represents a specific form of a sub-regional platform which has been established in 2016 by China's government. The purpose of this intergovernmental organization is to promote regional cooperation between six riparian states (China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam) and ensure sustainable development of the Lancang-Mekong Sub-region. The results show that despite the LMC does not meet all the criteria to become a proper River Basin Organization (RBO), it still remains highly progressive and widely popular among the riparian states. Currently, according to RBOs database from Oregon State University (2019) there can be identified only three inter-basin RBOs which together ensure transboundary water cooperation in Southeast Asia. The author concludes that despite the LMC offering many opportunities for further river development, the LMC still did not reach its full potential and face several challenges. Data has been collected by process-tracing analysis of official documents and from secondary literature related to the LMC and Mekong River development. The author applied the concept of multi-track water diplomacy and compare the current performance of the LMC with other RBOs to illustrate the role of RBOs in TWM. The findings of this article therefore can be applied to other case studies where RBOs possess a strong position in shaping TWM and where China builds up viable regional cooperation.

Key words: transboundary water management, Lancang-Mekong River, LMC, RBO, China, MRC, GMS, AMBDC

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