The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in partnership with American Seed Trade and Asia and Pacific Seed Associations, held the Lower Mekong Regional Seed Workshop, June 8-10, 2021. The “Strengthening Sustainable Seed System for the Lower Mekong Countries” workshop was conducted by the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) with technical expertise from USDA Agriculture Marketing Service. Over 70 high-ranking country representatives from the Public Seed Offices of, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia along with senior representatives from international seed organizations including OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), ISTA (International Seed Testing Association), and UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants) participated. Key representatives provided updates on progress and challenges in seed trade in their countries focusing on capacities, and rules-and science-based policy environments with aim to foster cooperation and harmonization of seed policies among Lower Mekong Countries (LMCs), consistent with practices and approaches in the United States.
Mekong-U.S. Partnership Virtual Workshop will be organized by ‘The Asia and Pacific Seed Association’ on 8- 10 June 2021 as a virtual workshop. The theme would be "Strengthening Sustainable Seed System for the Lower Mekong Countries”. This Activity is a component of the Seed Trade Capacity Building Project in the Lower Mekong Region funded under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership (MUSP), formerly known as Lower Mekong Initiative. Following the successful first Mekong Regional workshop on seeds on 2018, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service is inviting Country Representative from the Seed Offices of Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia to attend the Lower Mekong Seed Regional Workshop.
During this time Seed Trade Capacity Building in the Lower Mekong Progress Report will be presented by Government official delegations’ representative on each topic (Plant variety protection, seed lab accreditation, seed certification and phyto-sanitary regulation). Discussion groups will be organized to review on the priority and the type of capacity building training is needed in the region and in its respective country.<
Mekong-US Partnership Financial Support for your Mekong Project NexGen Mekong Scientists can provide up to 6-month research assistantships for your Mekong Based project. NexGen empowers Mekong young scientists and early career professionals from the region to responsibly steward the Mekong River Basin and its natural resources. NexGen promotes interdisciplinary approaches to the complex challenges faced…
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.
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Energy Resources’ (ENR) Power Sector Program (PSP), in partnership with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), provided three webinars to the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (ERAV). These webinars focused on enhancing ERAV’s regulatory capacity to oversee power market reforms and grid modernization to advance the goals of the Japan-U.S.-Mekong Power Partnership (JUMPP), Mekong-U.S. Partnership (MUSP), and the Asia Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy Initiative (Asia EDGE).
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Keshap provided opening remarks at the 2021 Friends of the Mekong Policy Dialogue on January 12, 2021.
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.
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.
Launched on December 15, 2020, the Mekong Dam Monitor (MDM) is the region's premier water monitoring tool. This monitor is open-source and freely available for users on the Mekong Water Data Initiative (MWDI) website - MekongWater.org. The Mekong Dam Monitor features virtual dam and reservoir gauges that use remote sensing, satellite imagery, and GIS analysis to provide weekly reports about environmental indicators in the Mekong Basin. The Stimson Center's Southeast Asia Program and Eyes on Earth, Inc. collaborative partnership developed the MDM with funding support from the Mekong-U.S. Partnership. This publicly available tool will significantly expand the water data available in the region, putting information into the hands of the people who need it the most so they can make informed decisions affecting livelihoods and regional security.
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:
The United States and Singapore co-hosted the 2020 Third Country Training Program (TCTP) Cybersecurity Workshop as a series of virtual events on October 26 and 27 and November 2 and 3. This cybersecurity course was fully subscribed with 30 participants from all ASEAN countries as well as Timor-Leste and the ASEAN Secretariat. It covered a broad range of cyber policy topics including the importance of whole-of-government cyber coordination, frameworks and best practices for a risk-based approach to cybersecurity, and the framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace. The participants identified key themes and lessons to bring back to their home countries for implementation, including raising public awareness on cybersecurity, strengthening network defenses against cybersecurity threats, and creating public-private partnerships to effectively respond to and manage cyber incidents.
Announced by Vice President Pence two years ago, the Indo-Pacific Transparency Initiative includes more than $1 billion in programs that promote civil society, rule of law, and transparent and accountable governance across the region.
The Transparency Initiative encompasses over 200 programs developed by a range of U.S. government agencies focused on anti-corruption and fiscal transparency, democracy assistance, youth and emerging leader development, media and internet freedom, and protecting fundamental freedoms and human rights.