Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell provided opening remarks at the inaugural Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Governance of Transboundary Rivers on October 15. U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Michael DeSombre offered closing remarks. The conference, organized in partnership with the East-West Center, convened policy-makers, academics, members of civil society, and other transboundary river stakeholders from across the Indo-Pacific region to share best practices related to the sustainable development and cooperative management of transboundary rivers.
Assistant Secretary Stilwell highlighted the new Mekong-U.S. Partnership and its role in expanding U.S. engagement with the five countries of the Mekong sub-region. He underscored United States commitment to the Mekong region, as evidenced by the $3.5 billion the United States provided in the region since 2009, as well as our enduring support to the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and transparent regional river governance. Assistant Secretary Stilwell also raised U.S. concerns over China’s unilateral manipulation of Mekong River flows and the need for comprehensive, year-round water data sharing through the MRC.