The Master Plan of Action to Implement the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) was designed to implement the goal of equitable, sustainable, and inclusive growth; narrow the development gap within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); and implement the specific objectives outlined by the Foreign Ministers of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, and the Secretary of State of the United States at the 11th LMI Ministerial Meeting held in Singapore in August, 2018.

The LMI seeks to meet regional development challenges by implementing capacity building programs with the active involvement and close cooperation of LMI governments.

The LMI seeks to meet regional development challenges by implementing capacity building programs with the active involvement and close cooperation of LMI governments. This updated version of the/version is the second, amended PoA for the LMI in line with the restructuring of LMI. The first covered the years 2011-2015.

Updates to each Area of Cooperation

Environment and Water

Promote dialogue between LMI countries on sound and sustainable environmental management and strengthen capacity within and across LMI partner countries to manage shared water resources, improve water and sanitation access, and develop national and regional capacity to achieve water security and manage increasingly variable water resources while preparing to meet future demands, and link activities, where appropriate, to global and LMI countries’ climate change policy.

Energy Security

Over the next decade, energy consumption in the Mekong sub-region is forecast to increase at a rate of over 10 percent per year.  An overreliance on the consumption of petroleum products, and the related possibility of increasing import dependence, greatly impacts national budgets, trade balances, and household incomes, and is also associated with environmental and health impacts.  To increase energy security and economic competitiveness, countries in the Mekong sub-region must develop and advance new sources of energy, ensure increased access to energy, and enhance regional interconnectivity.

Education

In order to narrow economic and social disparities, ensure economic development, and improve social well-being, LMI partner countries must foster regional education collaboration and improve access to education. The Education Pillar is a cross-cutting pillar focusing on sharing of best practices among LMI members in a variety of education and people-to-people projects.  Increasing technical English and communication skills is the first programmatic goal, allowing LMI members to better communicate and cooperate on joint projects and create stronger ASEAN relationships. Starting in 2015, the Education Pillar will grow and shift more toward Objective 1, page 1: By 2020, the Lower Mekong Initiative will promote sustainable growth through capacity-building activities, establishing platforms for dialogue, and facilitating opportunities for exchange of expertise and best practices. 

Health

LMI members agree on the importance of Health Pillar activities to improve human health and thereby narrow the poverty and development gaps.  Economic growth is dependent on health.  This PoA more clearly defines specific health goals and areas of cooperation under LMI, and is based on the outcomes of Regional Working Group Seven in Bangkok in January 2015.  Cross-border issues are a particular concern and should be examined under each of the Health Pillar main areas of activity.

Connectivity

The Connectivity Pillar represents the intersection of economic development, human capital, information and communication technologies, infrastructure, environmental stewardship, and the cross-border movement of goods.  Designed to reflect the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity and to support ASEAN economic integration, the Connectivity Pillar is developing strategies and the necessary tools to connect all LMI member states.

Agriculture and Food Security

LMI members seek to further collective efforts to improve agriculture and food security sector growth throughout the Mekong region in an inclusive and sustainable manner, building on and using best practices.  Activities in all areas will be planned and implemented with full consideration of promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, and addressing climate change, environmental, and health concerns, thereby contributing to the comprehensive integration of these issues into regional agricultural and food security initiatives. The overlap of issues among the LMI Pillars will lead to synergistic collaborations among the various Ministries within each country, and will help to avoid contentious policies that benefit one sector to the detriment of another, building on existing work in the LM sub-region. 

Activities in all areas will be planned and implemented with full consideration of promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, addressing climate change, and health concerns.