HO CHI MINH CITY – This was informed on Thursday at the 4th Regional Working Group Meeting of the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) held by LMI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in HCMC. LMI was formed in 2009 on the initiative of the U.S. with six members including the U.S. and five countries in the Lower Mekong Basin namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

At the two-day meeting, 90 LMI delegates are discussing and proposing specific cooperation programs and projects on the above areas to be deployed in the next three years with the funding from the U.S. LMI will extract US$2 million from the U.S. funding for the fisheries partnership program and US$1 million for a hydropower study of the Mekong River Commission.

Earlier, at the 3rd LMI meeting held in Phuket, Thailand in September 2012, Vietnam put forward the drafts of two projects on groundwater management and water management during the dry season in the Lower Mekong Basin, which were highly appreciated.

In the field of environment and water, LMI has launched the program “Forecast Mekong” and promoted environmental cooperation in order to build automatic monitoring stations to observe climate change in the Mekong Sub-region.

As the LMI nation in charge of environment and water, Vietnam will determine a number of priorities for sustainable management and use of water resources in the region, said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son.

Currently, development of hydroelectric dams in the Lower Mekong Basin is drawing a lot of attention because food security for over 60 million people living along the Lower Mekong Basin would be seriously threatened if more dams were built.

Mekong is one of the major rivers in the world, from the Tibetan Plateau running through six countries before forming the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and flowing into the East Sea. Although China has built a number of dams upstream, the downstream nations (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam) maintain the natural flow to provide food to more than 60 million people living along the river basin.

Source: Thesaigontimes

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