Mekong Forum focused on sharing responsibility for common prosperity: expert

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/8/30 8:23:52

The Mekong Forum 2016 served to foster dialogue among partners and agencies of Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries to pursuing their development targets, an expert said on Monday.

"These include reducing poverty and inequality, generating inclusive growth, improving capacity development, and exceeding the sustainable development goals in the GMS," said Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, executive director of Mekong Institute (MI) at the Mekong Forum.

Mekong Forum 2016 was hosted by MI on August 29 at Pullman Hotel Khon Kaen, northeast of Thailand. The theme of this year's Mekong Forum is "Sharing Responsibility for Common Prosperity."

The Forum brought together more than 200 participants, including Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, former Energy Minister of Thailand, James Bolger, the 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Li Hong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), as well as development practitioners, senior policy makers, business and civic leaders and academics from six GMS countries.

Narongchai, former Energy Minister of Thailand, told Xinhua that GMS countries share the Mekong river, face certain common problems and challenges during pursuing commercialization and sustainable development.

"It is thus a common responsibility for each parties concerned to cooperate to take care of the Mekong river for farming and energy-production, serving people who live along the mother river," said the expert.

"GMS has been grown more and more modernization and commercially-motivated. There are at least three pillars to enhance capacity building of this region, i.e., agriculture development, trade and investment, as well as innovation," Watcharas.

The Executive Director of MI regards the LMC (Lancang-Mekong Cooperation) framework, the mechanism newly initiated by China as a brilliant one to further cooperation of GMS countries.

"Anyway, what the countries concerned need to do is to implement more well-designed projects and make the mechanism more efficiently conducted, for their common prosperity," he added.

During the in-depth discussion lasting for the whole day, participants of the forum shared success stories and present innovative ideas on the roles of development partners, the changing needs of the GMS countries, and ways to enhance regional integration and promote more equitable and inclusive growth in the GMS.

The Mekong Forum, an inter-governmental organization in the GMS initiated by MI, is now being used by leaders, international organizations and scholars as a neutral platform to exchange ideas and build networks across the GMS.

Mekong Institute has successfully organized three Mekong Forums in the past and numerous topics have been discussed, such as narrowing development gaps between the lesser developed ASEAN countries and other ASEAN states, and modernizing the GMS.

MI was formed by the Thai Department of Technical and Economic Cooperation and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1996.

MI has played a transformational role in capacity development in the region for 20 years.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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