Mekong Cooperation Framework
Mekong Cooperation is renowned as a sub-regional cooperation that consists of the countries along the Mekong River, namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The participating countries and partners of this cooperation includes China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, the United States, the European Union, ADB etc. with the aim of ensuring sustainable development and utilization of water resources, contributing to the economic and social development, enhancing well-being of the people, narrowing the development gap among regional countries, supporting ASEAN Community building and addressing challenges in the Mekong region.
2- Frameworks of the Mekong Cooperation
- Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (India)
- Mekong-Japan Cooperation
- Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation
- Lower Mekong Initiatives-LMI (the United States) and the Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM)
- Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (People’s Republic of China)
- Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and Mekong River Commission (MRC).
3- Brieng on the Frameworks of the Mekong Cooperation
- Mekong-Ganga Cooperation has been established since November 2000 with 6 member countries–Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and India. The cooperation coers ve sectors which are tourism, culture, education, information technology and telecommunications and transport. Under this cooperation, Asian Traditional Textile Museum, located in Siem Reap, Cambodia, has been established and opened to public since 2014 to show case variety of traditional textiles and performing arts from around the Mekong-Ganga countries. The mechanisms to strengthen and implement Mekong-Ganga Cooperation include Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Senior Of cials’ Meeting.
- Mekong-Japan Cooperation has been established since 2008, which includes 6 member countries, namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and Japan. Mekong-Japan focuses on four pillars of cooperation: (1) development of industrial infrastructure in the Mekong region and the strengthening of «connectivity hardware» (2) industrial human resource development and the strengthening of «connectivity software» (3) development of sustainable for enhancing the «Green Mekong» and (4) coordination with relevant stakeholders. Mechanisms to enforce and implement this cooperation include the Summit, Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Senior Of cials’ Meeting and Senior-Level Working Group on Connectivity.
- Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation was established in 2010, which has 6 member countries, namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and Korea. Priority areas of cooperation, including infrastructure, information technology and telecommunications, and green growth, water resources development, agriculture and rural development and human resources development. Mechanisms to enforce and implement Mekong-ROK include Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Senior Of cials’ Meeting.
- Lower Mekong Initiative-LMI (United States) was founded in 2009. This initiative is a multilateral partnership among the countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and the United States to create a sub-regional integration, cooperation among Five Mekong countries. This initiative is also a platform to solve dif cult and the challenges of development and transnational politics in Lower Mekong sub-region. This initiative focuses on six pillars of agriculture and food security, connectivity, education, energy security, environment and water and health. Mechanisms to strengthen and implement LMI include Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Senior Of cials’ Meeting and Regional Working Group Meeting.
- Friends of Lower Mekong (FLM) was launched in July 2011. It functions as an important convening platform and driving mechanism to enhance coordination with Mekong countries’ partners in programming development assistance in the Mekong sub-region. FLM Members are Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, European Union, ADB and World Bank. The FLM is carried out through two main tracks: (1) Donor Dialogue among partner country development agencies and multilateral development institutions (2) Annual Policy Dialogue between foreign affairs ministries. Mechanisms to strengthen and implement the FLM cooperation include Ministerial Meeting and Senior Of cials’ Meeting.
- Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (Peoples’ Republic of China) has been established since November 2015 with the aim of promoting social and economic development in the Mekong sub-region, reducing the development gap and promoting comprehensive cooperation between ASEAN and China. Member countries of the Mekong-Lancang are Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. The collaboration focuses on three main pillars (Political and Security Cooperation, Economic and Sustainable Development and Social, Cultural and People to People Exchanges) and ve key priority areas, namely connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources and agriculture and poverty reduction. Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Special Fund has been set up and launched to support the small and medium projects from the Mekong-Lancang countries. In 2017, Mekong-Lancang member countries have established their national secretariats/coordination units within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs respectively in order to further enhance a better coordination among the line ministries/ institutions and the effectiveness of follow-up on the project implementation. Mechanisms to strengthen and implement the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation include Leaders’ Meeting, Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Senior Of cials’ Meeting, Diplomatic Joint Working Group Meeting and Sectoral Joint Working Groups of the ve key priority areas of the Mekong-Lancang.
- Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) is a subregional economic cooperation, which was designed to enhance economic relations among the six countries of the Greater Mekong region, including Cambodia, China (Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. The program of cooperation started in 1992 with the support from the Asian Development Bank. Priority sectors of the GMS program are transportation, energy, telecommunications, environment, human resource development, tourism, trade private sector investment and agriculture. Cambodia has set up its National Secretariat of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, which is under the supervision of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, in order to coordinate and implement these programs (for details, please click on www.adb.org/countries/gms/main).
- Mekong River Commission (MRC) was of cially established in 1995. The commission is an intergovernmental organization that works directly with the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam to work together on shared water resources management and sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin. MRC has its secretariat in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Each member country has its National Mekong Committee to coordinate and carry out their work. The main mechanisms of the Mekong River Commission include MRC summit, MRC member council meetings, Joint Committee meetings, and a number of technical working groups. Mekong River Commission deals with two dialogue partners, China and Myanmar, and development partners and organization partners such as Australia, Belgium, Denmark, European Community, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Luxemburg, World Bank, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States, ADB, ASEAN, UNDP and UNESCAP. MRC has 12 development programmes. (for details, please click on www.cnmc.gov.kh or www.mrcmekong.org)
4- Cambodia’s Involvement and Benefits from Mekong Cooperation
Cambodia has actively participated in the above cooperation through project proposals, pro- ject implementation, hosting meetings and related meetings. At the same time, Cambodia has received many bene ts from this cooperation, particularly in human resource develop- ment, building and improving infrastructure, expanding trade with countries in the region and the world, attracting foreign direct investment and growth in tourism etc.