The East-West Center, with support from the Mekong-U.S. Partnership, released the report from the Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Governance of Transboundary Rivers on February 25.  Ambassador and Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Atul Keshap joined Representative Ted Lieu and the Ambassadors from Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam at the virtual launch event. Amb. Keshap emphasized in his remarks transparency, strong governance institutions, and policies and decision making processes that include non-government and civil society. Representative Lieu said that the House Foreign Affairs Committee will work with the Biden administration on strengthening international partnerships to address the challenges of climate change, adding that he plans to raise the profile of Mekong issues in Congress. Vietnam Ambassador Ha Kim Ngoc framed the importance of transboundary river governance through the connections between security, development, and climate change.  Cambodian Ambassador Sounry Chum affirmed Cambodia’s commitment as 2021 co-chair of the Mekong-U.S. Partnership and emphasized cooperation to address climate and development challenges facing the Mekong states. Thailand Ambassador Manasvi noted the importance of sustainable Mekong River governance for addressing economic inequality within ASEAN. During the Q&A, EWC Asia Director Satu Limaye pointed to the need to raise the profile of Mekong issues within ASEAN and abroad to complement efforts to increase transparency and expand civil society’s role.

The report launch event