Extraordinary Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) Conference
February 4, 2015
1. An Extraordinary Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) Conference (jointly hosted by the U.S. and the Lao PDR) was held in Pakse, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, on February 2 and 3, and a summary of joint discussion (PDF) was issued following the meeting.
2. From Japan, Mr. Shigeki Takizaki, Deputy Director-General, Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Noriyuki Mori, JICA Expert (currently dispatched by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan to Cabinet office of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport of the Lao PDR as a Planning Advisor) attended. From the Lao PDR and the U.S., H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Lao PDR and Mr. Thomas Shannon, Counselor to the Department of State also attended. In addition, relevant parties also took part from the Mekong countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam), Australia, Denmark, Germany, the EU, the Republic of Korea, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) (Mr. Koji Kitamura, an expert currently dispatched by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, also attended as one member of the delegation of MRC).
3. This was the first time this Extraordinary meeting had been held. At the Fourth FLM Ministerial Meeting held in Myanmar in August last year (co-chaired by the Honorable John F. Kerry, Secretary of State of the U.S. and H.E. Mr. Wunna Maung Lwin, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar; Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the meeting from Japan), it was decided to hold the Extraordinary meeting for discussing challenges in the environmental field in the Mekong River Basin at the working level.
4. At the Extraordinary meeting, discussions took place on economic integration in the Mekong River Basin and ensuring environmental sustainability, management of water resources and infrastructure development. Japan explained the initiatives and outcomes of “Mekong-Japan Cooperation” such as “enhancing connectivity,” “economic development” and “ensuring sustainability” based on the “Tokyo Strategy 2012” adopted at the Fourth Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting held in 2012, and in particular initiatives for achieving sustainable “quality growth.”
5. Japan-U.S. cooperation in the Mekong region, and in particular close coordination between “Mekong-Japan Cooperation,” and “the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI)” or the FLM, was mentioned in the factsheet issued during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Japan in April 2014. The outcomes of this Extraordinary meeting will be reported at the Seventh Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting, which will be held in Tokyo on July 4 this year, as one part of Japan-U.S. cooperation in the Mekong region.