Vietnam attaches special importance to the sustainable development and effective use of Mekong River water resources in the context of increasing climate change.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh made the statement at the 7 th Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Ministerial Meeting and the fourth Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) Ministerial Meeting, which took place in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on August 9 on the sidelines of the 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-47).

Vietnam wishes to further coordinate with other Mekong countries and development partners in these efforts, he stressed.

He also proposed strengthening cooperation and dialogue within the LMI and FLM frameworks, first of all for socio-economic development, strengthening connectivity, narrowing the development gap between ASEAN members and enhancing the Mekong River Commission’s capacity on research and forecast of the impact of hydroelectric dams in the Mekong River ’s main stream.

The 7 th LMI foreign ministers’ meeting discussed opportunities and challenges for the sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin as well as proposed concrete cooperation measures to narrow the development gap and speed up regional economic integration towards an ASEAN community by 2015.

The ministers agreed that after five years of operation, LMI has become an effective cooperation mechanism between the US and Mekong countries in dealing with common development challenges through the six pillars of agriculture and food security, connectivity, education, energy security, environment and water resources, and health.

The meeting adopted a joint statement, which said in the next five years, the LMI cooperation will focus on implementing six major projects on connectivity, smart infrastructure, connectivity via education and training, training communication skills for leaders, start-up centres for women, and infectious disease prevention.

Meanwhile, the 4 th FLM foreign ministers’ meeting agreed to strengthen cooperation in regional connectivity, sustainable management of water resources and environmental protection in the Mekong River basin . The ministers affirmed a commitment to building partnership at all levels to effectively cope with challenges in the region.

At the event, many development partners such as the European Union, Australia , the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank pledged to continue supporting Mekong nations in managing water resources sustainably and building smart infrastructure, clean energy and agriculture adaptive to climate change.

The EU decided to triple its aid for the regional nations in the 2014-2020 period.

The meeting agreed to organise a special FLM meeting at the deputy ministerial level on sustainable development in Laos in late 2014 or early 2015.-VNA