Co-operation between member countries key to Mekong sub-region sustainability: forum

Co-operation between its various countries is key to promoting sustainable development in the Mekong sub-region, speakers told a forum held last Friday in HCM City.

Speaking at the third Mekong International Forum, Dr Phạm Lan Dung, acting director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said the Mekong sub-region plays a strategic role in the integration and economic growth of Asia.

It sustains over 60 million people in its basin and provides a quarter of the world’s freshwater fish and 15 per cent of its rice, she said.

Dr Phạm Lan Dung, acting director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, speaks at the third Mekong International Forum held last Friday in HCM City. VNA/VNS Photo
Dr Phạm Lan Dung, acting director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, speaks at the third Mekong International Forum held last Friday in HCM City. VNA/VNS Photo

Despite its rich potential and geostrategic importance, it faces challenges due to the lack of co-ordination among the Mekong countries, she said.

Countries are aware of the problem, but it is not easy to solve it due to differences in interests between development partners and the various countries and between the countries themselves, she added.

Florian C. Feyerabend, director of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Foundation Vietnam, spoke about the economic strength of the sub-region, particularly the Mekong Delta, but also its vulnerability to climate change, including rising sea levels, saltwater intrusion, droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events.

Experts called for more practical solutions to address them, , including a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of sub-regional cooperation mechanisms.

It is also vital to foster sharing of information, knowledge and experience between experts, scientists and policymakers in the sub-region, they said.

Winding almost 3,000 miles from the Tibetan plateau to the East Sea, the Mekong accounts the world’s largest inland fish catch.

The sub-region countries include Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Việt Nam.

The event, titled “Improving the effectiveness of coordination between Mekong sub-region cooperation mechanisms, towards sustainable development,” was jointly organised by the diplomatic academy’s Institute of Diplomatic Strategic Studies and the foundation.

It was attended by 150 delegates, including officials from embassies and consulates and several provinces and cities in the delta.

Source: VNS

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