USAID/RDMA recently finalized a four-year inter-agency agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) as part of a Lower Mekong Initiative deliverable announced by Hillary Clinton and the USAID-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment. Under the agreement, USAID, USEPA and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) partner to promote regional integration by strengthening environmental and social review of development projects through environmental impact assessments (EIAs) together with all Lower Mekong Initiative countries.

Activities under the agreement will focus on providing capacity-building and technical assistance to government officials, civil society organizations and other stakeholders. They will promote regional standards for social and environmental safeguards, enhancing key functions of environmental regulatory agencies, and strengthening EIAs with particular emphasis on robust public participation. Upon signature of the agreement, representatives from USAID/RDMA, USEPA and ADB held a scoping mission to assess the needs of the Lower Mekong Initiative country governments, including Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam.

The representatives agreed to cooperate with Cambodia’s Minister of Environment to strengthen the government’s capacity to implement EIAs, support public participation and encourage smarter development for a more sustainable Mekong.

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update