On 13 July 2012, Mr. Arthayudh Srisamoot, Director-General of the Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, representing the Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended the 5th Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Ministerial Meeting and the 2nd Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) Meeting, on the sidelines of the 45th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh.
LMI is an essential mechanism for furthering regional cooperation and enhancing national and local capacity in the Mekong countries in addressing some of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.
The 5th Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Ministerial Meeting welcomed Secretary Clinton’s announcement of the Asia-Pacific Strategic Engagement Initiative (APSEI) that includes $50 million in new U.S. programs supporting the LMI over a three year period. These new programs are intended to complement and dramatically expand existing efforts to bolster regional capacity to address specific cross-border challenges and promote institutional and people-to-people connectivity in the Mekong sub-region.
The Meeting also welcomed Myanmar to the LMI forum as the sixth member and added a new pillar on agriculture and food security to be LMI areas of cooperation to be led by Myanmar. In this regard, the Meeting adopted the Statement and the revised LMI Plan of Action as well as the Joint Statement on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. The Meeting was pleased to note Thailand’s offer to co-chair a new “Energy Security” pillar.
The Meeting acknowledged the success of LMI English Project: Professional Communication Skills for Leaders, which Thailand is conducting in close collaboration with the United States. The Project greatly contributes to the capacity building of LMI human resources to cope with challenges of the upcoming ASEAN Community.
The member countries looks forward to the LMI Regional Working Group to be held in Thailand on 27-28 September 2012 to discuss future direction and mechanism of the LMI.
At the 2nd Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) Meeting, a forum of consultation among development partners and Mekong countries, the partners affirmed that the FLM is an important convening platform and mechanism to improve coordination and avoid duplication of regional assistance programs – particularly those programs that are effective, and regionally owned. They endorsed the two track structure for the Friends of the Lower Mekong with the involvement of donor agencies. In this regard, Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) will take part in the FLM.
Source: Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand