East-West Center Hosts Launch Event Featuring US and Mekong Region Government Officials for New Report on Transboundary River Governance

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WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 26, 2021) – The East-West Center hosted a high-profile event yesterday featuring US and Mekong region government officials to release a new report detailing the findings of the inaugural Indo-Pacific Conference on Strengthening Governance of Transboundary Rivers held in October 2020. Hosted by the East-West Center in partnership with the US Department of State and the Mekong-US Partnership, the 2020 conference convened policymakers, academics, members of civil society, and other transboundary river stakeholders from across the Indo-Pacific region to share best practices related to the sustainable development and cooperative management of transboundary rivers. 

East-West Center Hosts Launch Event Featuring US and Mekong Region Government Officials for New Report on Transboundary River Governance
(Left to right, top row) Dr. Satu Limaye, Amb. Srisodapol Manasvi, Amb. Hà Kim Ngọc, (Left to right, bottom row) Amb. Atul Keshap, Rep. Col. Ted Lieu, and Amb. Sounry Chum at the report launch event on February 25, 2021.

Featured speakers at the report launch event included:

  • Ambassador Atul Keshap, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of State
  • Representative Col. Ted Lieu (CA-33), Committee on Foreign Affairs, US House of Representatives
  • Ambassador Hà Kim Ngọc, Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
  • Ambassador Sounry Chum, The Royal Embassy of Cambodia
  • Ambassador Srisodapol Manasvi, The Royal Thai Embassy
  • Dr. Satu Limaye, East-West Center Vice President and East-West Center in Washington Director

 

Key themes emphasized in the conference report are the need to improve transparency and strengthen communities and institutions responsible for protecting the Mekong river in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Discussion during the launch event built on these themes, addressing the rising environmental, economic, development, and political challenges impacting the nearly 70 million people living in the Mekong River Basin as detailed in The Mekong Matters for America/America Matters for The Mekong report, a joint project of the East-West Center and the Stimson Center.

US Ambassador Atul Keshap’s remarks particularly highlighted longstanding US investment and engagement in the Mekong region.

“The United States, through the Mekong-US Partnership, is committed to supporting the people of the Mekong River Basin through transparency, accountability, and good governance,” said Ambassador Keshap, “A free and open Mekong region is an integral part of our support for ASEAN and the greater Indo-Pacific.” 

East-West Center Vice President Dr. Satu Limaye expanded on these remarks, highlighting how the report is part of the Center’s extensive and growing body of work on the region.

“The East-West Center’s mission is to better relations and understanding between the US and Asia through cooperative study, training, and research. By convening this conference in partnership with the Department of State and Meridian Center International, we produced connections and content to meet our objectives,” said Dr. Satu Limaye, “We will build on the work in the years ahead.”

The conference report containing conference session summaries, key debates, policy recommendations, speaker biographies and more is available for download from the East-West Center website. The full recording of the launch event is available on Vimeo and SoundCloud.