Thailand to host meeting on Mekong development

national November 21, 2012 00:00

By The Nation

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Thailand will host the International Conference on Sustainable Development in the Lancang-Mekong Sub-Region next year to push for natural-disaster management, development and security in the Mekong River and its basin, a government official said yesterday



 

Foreign ministers from the other five countries in the basin, namely China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, will be attending the meeting, deputy government spokesman Pakdiharn Himathongkham said. The event will be held in Chiang Mai on January 13 and 14, he added.
 
Foreign Ministry permanent secretaries from the participating countries will meet mid next month to prepare for the meeting. 
 
The Mekong River, which is called Lancang in China, has been at the core of development in Southeast Asia for decades now. There are several cooperation schemes in the region such as the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), which involves all six countries in terms of infrastructure development and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) that includes four countries in the lower part of the Mekong River. 
 
However, there is still a lack of organised means to handle the many challenges such as natural disasters and security concerns faced by the Mekong region. 
 
Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said recently that this conference was necessary to help handle new challenges arising in the Mekong basin, notably natural disasters that have been inflicting great damage to development in the region. 
 
The Foreign Ministry’s proposal to host the conference was approved by the Cabinet yesterday. This meeting will also discuss and explore cooperation on agriculture, fishery, tourism and security.
 
Separately, the Cabinet has also approved a proposal from the Foreign Ministry to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting in 2022. Thailand hosted its first Apec forum in 2003 under Thaksin Shinawatra’s administration.