On July 22, 2011 the Foreign Ministers and senior representatives of Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea (ROK), New Zealand, the Ministerial Representative of the EU, and senior representatives of the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank joined the U.S. Secretary of State and Foreign Ministers and senior representatives of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Viet Nam in Bali, Indonesia for the first Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) Ministerial Meeting.

The Ministers and senior representatives noted the importance of effectively managing sustainable and equitable development in the lower Mekong sub-region.  They discussed challenges affecting the Mekong River and the region in a variety of sectors, including the environment, public health, social development, livelihood, food security, education, and infrastructure.  They also affirmed the importance of conducting assistance programs in the Mekong region in a transparent manner.

The Ministers and senior representatives highlighted the scope of their respective assistance and activities in the lower Mekong region and emphasized the importance of close cooperation among donors and the lower Mekong countries to enhance effectiveness, mobilize resources, and promote synergy of regional assistance programs aimed at supporting inclusive, sustainable, and environmentally-responsible growth.

The Ministers and senior representatives recognized the importance of improving coordination of assistance through initial steps such as sharing information on ongoing and future projects and identifying possible channels for future collaboration, underlining the importance of local ownership in this coordination. They also agreed to continue discussion to develop a sustainable and effective cooperation mechanism among parties.

The Ministers and senior representatives welcomed the convening of the first Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which will be held in Seoul this year, and expected that such an initiative would contribute to the improved coordination among donor countries.  The Ministers and representatives also recognized the need to closely coordinate the FLM initiative with the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) through the GMS secretariat, recognizing different mandates and areas of responsibility.