COVID-19 and climate change pose great challenges to Mekong subregion

COVID-19 and climate change pose great challenges to Mekong subregionVGP – Viet Nam attaches importance to strengthening cooperation with its partners for the sustainable development of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, said Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son.

Speaking at the second Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting (MUSPM) held virtually on August 3, Bui welcomed the Mekong-US Partnership’s active support to Mekong countries in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting sustainable development, and building the ASEAN Community. 

The pandemic and climate change are urgent issues posing great challenges to sustainable and inclusive development of the Mekong Sub-region as well as requiring high determinations and cooperative efforts of the Mekong countries, ASEAN and their partners, Bui underscored.  

Against the backdrop, he asked for prompt vaccination rollout, accelerate cooperation in transfer of technology for the production and distribution of high-quality vaccines, and enhance public health system with a view to boosting capacity in response to health challenges. 

The Vietnamese diplomat highlighted the need for improving the region’s response and adaptation capacity to climate change and strengthening cooperation in trans-border water resource management and use.

He also called for expansion of collaboration in infrastructure development, digital economy, clean and renewable energy and the promotion of tripartite and multilateral cooperation models. 

Bui took the occasion to suggest the establishment of the Mekong-U.S. Senior Leadership to enhance dialogue and policy consultation in favor of sustainable development in the Mekong region. 

At the event, the ministers adopted an action plan for 2021-2023, with priority given to programs and projects relevant to economic connectivity, sustainable management of water and natural resources and environmental protection, non-traditional security issues and human resource development.  

As the COVID-19 pandemic remains complicated, the ministers agreed that the top priority should be to effectively manage the pandemic and ensure a prompt, safe and effective vaccine access.

The also underlined that the Mekong-U.S. strategic partnership should make positive contribution to consolidating an environment of peace, stability and prosperity in the region; promoting the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs), the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), narrowing the development gap and enhancing linkages with the existing Mekong cooperative frameworks such as the Mekong River Commission and the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). 

The event, co-chaired by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, was also attended by FMs from Mekong member countries namely Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and the Secretary-General of ASEAN./.


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