Nation outlines post-pandemic economic recovery in Mekong sub-region

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son underscored four key solutions to promoting post-pandemic economic recovery and development in the Mekong sub-region at the second virtual Mekong-US Partnership Ministerial Meeting (MUSP) on August 3.
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Representatives at the second virtual Mekong-US Partnership Ministerial Meeting (MUSP)
Representatives at the second virtual Mekong-US Partnership Ministerial Meeting (MUSP)

The solutions include the prompt implementation of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, stronger co-operation in the transfer of high-quality vaccine technology, along with the enhancement of the public health system to better respond to challenges.

The Vietnamese diplomat affirmed the nation’s recognition of the great importance to boosting co-operation with partners for the goal of achieving sustainable development of the Mekong sub-region.

Minister Son went on to welcome support given by the MUSP to Mekong countries in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as promoting sustainable development and building the ASEAN Community.

COVID-19 and climate change remain urgent matters which pose significant challenges to the sustainable and inclusive growth of the Mekong sub-region and require great determination and efforts of all regional countries, ASEAN, and partner nations, Minister Son said.

He underscored the necessity of increasing the response and adaption capacity of the region around the Mekong river basin to deal with the impact of climate change, along with ramping up collaboration efforts in management and the sustainable use of transboundary water resources.

It remains essential to expand co-operation on infrastructure development, the digital economy, along with increasing clean and renewable energy, while also encouraging three- and four-party co-operation models, he added.

The local diplomat proposed a Mekong-US Senior Leadership Programme aimed at enhancing dialogue and policy consultation to serve sustainable development throughout the Mekong region.

Vietnamese initiatives and proposals were welcomed by all participants, along with being added to the meeting’s documents.

Co-chaired by Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn along with the participation of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the second meeting saw the involvement of foreign ministers from Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, along with the ASEAN Secretary-General.

The event saw ministers applaud the US support of Mekong countries in the COVID-19 fight, whilst recognising MUSP achievements in co-operation areas.

With regard to orientations for the next period, they therefore agreed to give priority to the effective settlement of pandemic, ensuring timely, safe, and effective vaccine access. Simultaneously, they concurred that the MUSP should make positive contributions to the reinforcement of an environment of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region, while also supporting the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs). This is along with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, narrowing the development gap, and strengthening connections with existing Mekong co-operation frameworks.

They granted approval to an Action Plan for the 2021 to 2023 period, with priority given to programmes and projects in the fields of economic connectivity, sustainable management of water resources and natural resources, environmental protection, non-traditional security matters, and human resources development.

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