On December 15-16, the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Eighth Regional Working Group (RWG) Meeting and Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) Working Group Meeting was held at the Melia Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam. Nearly 140 participants from six LMI members, (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, the United States of America, and Vietnam), from members of the Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM), (Australia, the European Union and Japan), and the ASEAN Secretariat attended.
At the meeting, participants began implementing the new LMI Master Plan of Action 2016-2020 approved at the LMI Ministerial Meeting held in Kuala Lumpur in August 2015. The LMI Master Plan of Action calls for LMI and FLM members to develop collaborative approaches to address complex, transnational development and policy challenges.
Discussions at the RWG meeting in Hanoi focused on integrating the cross-cutting areas of the water, energy, and food security nexus and gender equality and women’s empowerment into the six LMI “Pillars” or areas of cooperation.
The concept of the water, energy, and food security nexus describes how these three sectors are intricately linked and how actions in one area often impact one or both of the sectors. LMI’s commitment to equal representation and women’s entrepreneurship recognizes the need for projects that engage women as engines of development and the contributions of women to economic development. During the RWG meeting, LMI representatives set the framework for policy discussions on these cross-cutting issues and established objectives for future projects designed to support the initiative’s policy priorities.
The LMI Eminent and Expert Persons Group, private sector representatives, and development partners joined the meetings’ discussions and shared their expertise on effective solutions to achieving long-term sustainable growth. FLM members also identified specific programs surrounding the water, energy, and food security nexus that merit enhanced cooperation for the first time.