The US Secretary of State and her counterparts from the four nations of the Lower Mekong region are scheduled to meet again in two months to work out details on the planned cooperation between the Mekong Basin and the Mississippi Basin.
The accord on cooperation between the two river basins and the agreement to meet again followed the first meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the foreign ministers of the four nations of the Lower Mekong Region, namely Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, on the sidelines of the 16th ASEAN Regional Forum, in Thailand's resort town of Phuket on July 23.
The upcoming meeting is expected to focus on exchanging experiences and know-how on how to effectively adapt to climate changes that affect water resources, with the Mekong Basin side expecting basically to learn from the experiences and the technical know-how of the Mississippi River Commission in coping with floods and draughts, as well as allocating water resources for best use in agriculture, energy production, and environmental impacts prevention.
The foreign ministers of the Mekong Basin nations also expect the US to play a bigger role in helping them develop infrastructures, and boosting bilateral cooperation in the areas of health, education, and environmental protection with its advanced technologies. The US had previously approved funding for assistance programs for the Lower Mekong region in the amount exceeding 160 million dollars for 2009, targeting the three areas.
Examples of such assistances include supporting sustainable use of forest and water resources, conserving the biodiversity of the Mekong basin and providing access to clean water to poor people in the region, preventing the H5N1 and A-H1N1 influenzas outbreaks as well as HIV/AIDS.
Songrit reported in Lao from Bangkok on August 7, 2009. Dara Baccam summarized in English.