US support needed for Mekong growth balance: Deputy PM hinh anh 1Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh  ( Photo: VNA)

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has called for US engagement in dealing with water-energy-food relations through supporting Mekong countries in seeking effective measures to cope with climate change.

He made the call during the eighth Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia on August 5, chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Highlighting the need for cooperation in sustainable development with balanced relations among water-energy-food and infrastructure and reduced impacts on the environment and society, the Vietnamese Deputy PM proposed that in the next five years, the LMI should focus on building smart and high quality infrastructure.

He suggested that the LMI encourage US investment and transfer of technology and technical solutions to solve environmental challenges as well as balance socio-economic development in the sub-region.

He also called for US support for the International Mekong Commission in improving research and technical capacity to meet the need of harmonious, sustainable and comprehensive growth in the sub-region.

Minh recommended supplementing projects proposed by Mekong countries with a number of projects to support Vietnam ’s Mekong Delta localities, including Ben Tre, Soc Trang and Tra Vinh, in response to salinity and drought.

During the event, which gathered foreign ministers from Cambodia , Laos , Myanmar and Thailand and ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, participants also discussed ways to ensure the sustainable growth of the lower Mekong region where the need for infrastructure serving socio-economic development is rising.

The ministers acknowledged the LMI’s progress over the past five years in key pillars of agriculture and food security, connectivity, education, energy security, environment, water resources and healthcare.

They adopted a joint statement as well as an LMI Action Plan for 2016-2020, detailing cooperation activities as well as interdisciplinary issues such as the water-energy-food relations and gender equality, thus boosting sustainable growth and balance in the Mekong sub-region.

Participants also concurred to continue realising major programmes in the LMI partnership, including those to develop Mekong connectivity, smart infrastructure and linkages through education and training, enhance communications skills for leaders and build a start-up centre for women as well as one-health initiative.

They agreed to organise the 9th LMI on the margin of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Laos in 2016. A meeting of the LMI Working Group is also slated for Vietnam latter of this year.-VNA