Recap: Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Transboundary Rivers Governance

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.

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.

Webinar: Fostering Solutions and Collaboration for a Sustainable Mekong River Delta

Mark your calendars for July 14 from 10:00 PM - 11:30 PM EDT for the Fostering Solutions and Collaboration for a Sustainable Mekong River Delta webinar, where global and regional experts will discuss the threats to the Mekong River Delta including increasing saltwater intrusion and drought. The Mekong River is home to one of the most productive and biodiverse…

LMI Nexus Futures Program

Working with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the LMI Nexus Futures Program advances sustainable economic development and reinforces regional integration in the Lower Mekong. Using an inclusive process with key stakeholders from Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam, the program works to create a water, food, energy, and environment nexus assessment of the 3S river system, a tributary of the Mekong including the Sesan, Srepok, and Sekong Rivers. The program builds capacities within the 3S system and shares results throughout the region of both the process and the data. Although current funding from OES has expired, Nexus Futures continues to partner and engage with LMI through the Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership.

Smart Infrastructure for the Mekong (SIM)

Managed in partnership with the USAID Regional Development Mission ASIA (USAID/RDMA), SIM is a demand-driven, government-to government technical assistance program that utilizes the science and engineering expertise of the U.S. Department of the Interior, International Technical Assistance Program to help LMI countries safeguard the environment from the negative effects of infrastructure development.

Seed Trade Capacity Building

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched an effort to strengthen seed sectors, seed trade capacities, and rules- and science-based policy environments in LMI countries. Activities focus on promoting public-private partnerships and fostering harmonization of seed policies across the region by working with and strengthening the Asia and Pacific Seed Association.

Japan-US Mekong Power Partnership (JUMPP)

U.S. technical assistance, in coordination with Japan, supports ‎Mekong electricity regulatory and system development by working with national and regional market authorities on reliably integrating renewable energy, enhancing opportunities for regional power trade, and opportunities for private investment.

Sister River Exchange

Since 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has promoted the sharing of experiences between the Mississippi River Commission and the Mekong River Commission through with the aim of increasing regional stability and prosperity, promoting collaboration, technical exchanges, and sharing of best practices for the sound management of transboundary water resources. Onward efforts will expand engagements to include dam safety and shared vision planning.

Foundations for Strategic Lower Mekong Hydropower and Water Resources Management

Launched in 2018 in support of the MWDI, this program led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) builds technical capacity across the Mekong region for integrated river planning and management to help ensure that energy development projects take into account social and environmental considerations while improving energy security. This program enables LMI nations to make holistic energy planning decisions that consider long-term impacts on communities and the environment.

NexView

NexView bolsters Mekong River Commission (MRC) efforts to promote good governance and transboundary cooperation by providing multidisciplinary decision support. NexView will be used by decision makers to identify synergies and assess tradeoffs for different development scenarios that take into account the nexus of the water, energy, food, and environment sectors. The NexView decision support model will be built in consultation with Mekong partners, showcased in the ASU Decision Theater and made publicly available through MekongWater.org.

Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership (SIP)

Established in 2016 by the Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) and funded by the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), the SIP is a multi-partner platform for regional dialogue, capacity building, and training. The platform addresses three cross-cutting topics that are central to the Mekong River Basin’s development challenges: assessing the cumulative impact of¬ infrastructure projects, incorporating socio-economic data in basin-level planning, and sharing critical data and information necessary for science-based decision-making.

Mekong Water Data Initiative (MWDI)

MWDI, launched in 2017 and funded with $2 million dollars announced by Secretary Pompeo in 2018, is a cooperative effort to manage and share water-related data to improve resource management of the Mekong River basin. MWDI enables officials to make informed choices about water resources management. The United States has worked closely with LMI countries, the Mekong River Commission (MRC), members of the Friends of the Lower Mekong, and the private, academic, and non-profit sectors to design and launch MekongWater.org, a clearinghouse for data and tools that will empower and inform LMI countries on water security issues, such as drought and flood monitoring. The platform incentivizes peer-to-peer connections among regional researchers and the U.S. scientific community.