Happy World Water Day

Happy World Water Day on March 22! More than 70 million people rely on the Mekong River. Climate change threatens the reliability of water supplies, impacting livelihoods and disrupting critical ecosystems. The United States enhances water security by increasing access to safe drinking water and sanitation, managing freshwater resources, encouraging shared water cooperation, and strengthening water sector management.

Mekong-U.S. Partnership Track 1.5 Policy Dialogue #1

The Stimson Center and the International Union of Nature (IUCN) will host the first of six Mekong-US Partnership Track 1.5 Policy Dialogues, with the first four-day event beginning March 19 (Asia)/March 18 (U.S.). The opening plenary session will feature keynote remarks from Ambassador Atul Keshap, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and a high-level panel. The opening plenary session is open to the public and press. RSVP to attend opening plenary: March 19, 8:30am ICT (9:30pm EDT).

Release of the Transboundary River Governance Conference Report: February 25

Please join the East-West Center for the release of the Report from the Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Governance of Transboundary Rivers. This webinar will feature discussion with U.S. government officials on the report, which details the findings of the October 2020 Conference that convened partners and stakeholders from across the Indo-Pacific region to share best practices and lessons learned related to the cooperative development and management of transboundary rivers.

“Towards a Resilient and Connected Mekong:” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Atul Keshap’s Remarks at the 2021 Friends of the Mekong Policy Dialogue

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Keshap provided opening remarks at the 2021 Friends of the Mekong Policy Dialogue on January 12, 2021.

Why The Mekong Region Matters to the United States, ASEAN, and the Indo-Pacific

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell published an article titled "Why the Mekong Region Matters to the United States, ASEAN, and the Indo-Pacific" in the Cambodia Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP) Journal of Greater Mekong Studies.

United States and Vietnam Convene 17 Friends of the Mekong in Support of a Secure, Prosperous, and Open Mekong Region

On January 12, the United States and Vietnam co-hosted the first Friends of the Mekong Policy Dialogue under the new Mekong-U.S. Partnership. In his remarks, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Ambassador Atul Keshap emphasized that the United States is committed to a secure, open, and prosperous Mekong region, highlighting the importance of this region to ASEAN centrality and to the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. The 17 participating countries and institutions under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership and the Friends of the Mekong offered recommendations on sustainable infrastructure development and connectivity; human resource development and building the foundations for a Mekong digital economy; sustainable water, natural resource management, and environmental protection; and COVID response and regional collaboration on health security.

Message from our Ambassadors

Now more than ever, the United States sees the importance of a partnership with the Mekong Region. Perhaps the best example of that is the new Mekong-U.S. Partnership, which was launched in 2020 as a successor to the Lower Mekong Initiative. This partnership – with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the ASEAN Secretariat – aims to improve lives in the Mekong Region by spurring economic growth, improving natural resource management, and tackling transnational crime. “We are open to working with all partners who shared our principled, transparent approach,” said Melissa A. Brown, Head of the U.S. Mission to ASEAN. Watch this video to learn more:

Webinar: An Uncertain Future: Working Towards a Thriving Tonle Sap

The U.S. Department of State and the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership are pleased to announce the second Mekong Virtual Symposium. As part of the U.S. Vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, the U.S. government is committed to providing a platform that encourages information sharing, dialogue, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement for cooperative, responsible management of the Mekong River. The U.S. engagement in the Mekong region has long supported transparent, open cooperation for sustainable management of the river. This program will engage key stakeholders on the range of issues facing the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia: fishing and fish migration, plastics, floods and droughts, sediment, and dam impacts. As drought and dams have led the Mekong’s flow reversal to happen later and later each year, the Tonle Sap now faces an uncertain future.

Mekong Virtual Symposium: “An Uncertain Future: Working Towards a Thriving Tonle Sap”

Pact Thailand is organizing the second Mekong Virtual Symposium: An Uncertain Future: Working Towards a Thriving Tonle Sap as part of the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP). This event is open to the public, and interested participants are encouraged to RSVP on https://www.mekongwater.org/mekong-virtual-symposium.

Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Transboundary Rivers Governance

The United States Department of State, in partnership with the East-West Center, will host a virtual Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Transboundary Rivers Governance on October 15-16. The invitation-only conference brings together practitioners, experts, and national and civil society representatives to focus on Enhancing Transparency, Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement. This event includes sessions on "Transparency and Partnerships in Transboundary River Governance," "Negotiating Transboundary River Governance," "Stakeholder Engagement in Transboundary River Governance," and "Next Steps for Strengthening Governance of Transboundary Rivers." Assistant Secretary David Stilwell and U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Michael DeSombre will give opening and closing remarks, respectively.

Mekong-U.S. Partnership at a glance

The Mekong-U.S. Partnership expands cooperation between the United States and the countries of the Mekong region.

Mekong-U.S. Partnership Joint Statement

The United States and Mekong Partner countries released a Joint Statement on the launch of the Mekong-U.S. Partnership.