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-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 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).
The Partnership Policy Dialogues are a series of six multi-day conferences that will take place from 2021 – 2023 to explore solutions to key policy and sustainability challenges facing the Lower Mekong. The conferences will explore the following themes including: Connectivity, energy and infrastructure, non-traditional security, transboundary water governance, and nature-based solutions. Tying the conference experiences together are cross-cutting values of inclusivity, resilience (including climate), and collaboration. The Partnership Policy Dialogues are generously supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of State and implemented by the Stimson Center and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
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.
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 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.