HO CHI MINH CITY – The fourth Regional Working Group Meeting of the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), co-hosted by the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry and the US Department of State, concluded in Ho Chi Minh City on April 26.

During the two-day event, participants agreed to strengthen links between LMI and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) to improve the working efficiency of LMI in narrowing the development gap in the region.

They also reached a consensus on building capacity for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV), accelerating the regional integration process, establishing a regular dialogue mechanism between permanent representatives of CLMV countries and US representatives in ASEAN to determine fields of potential cooperation.

Additionally, they agreed to build draft action plans on energy security, agriculture and food security, which will be included in the 2011–2015 LMI Action Plan. The amended plan will be submitted to the sixth LMI Ministerial Meeting, scheduled for June in Brunei.

Delegates also to increase the participation of the private sector and foreign partners in LMI’s cooperation activities and projects. Its website and regional coordination center will be upgraded to increase information sharing among member nations.

In the near future, LMI’s activities will focus on gender equality and promoting women’s engagement in socio-economic activities.

The meeting reached a consent on implementing cooperation activities like a seminar on bridge and road management this May in Laos, five regional seminars on public-private partnership in infrastructure development for 2014 and 2015, and the second phase of the English language and communication skills training for CLMV countries’ officials.

Concluding the event, a Joint Statement was adopted. The fifth meeting will convene later this year, ahead of the seventh LMI Ministerial Meeting scheduled for 2014 in Myanmar.

Source: VietnamPlus

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