Participants shared the view that after two years, MLC made important strides in building working mechanisms and implementing concrete projects. Some outstanding outcomes include implementing 130 projects, completing many “Early Harvest” projects, setting up centres for environmental, water resource and Mekong research cooperation, and establishing and operating the MLC Special Fund.
In terms of future cooperation, the leaders reaffirmed the goal of building a Mekong-Lancang region of peace, stability, sustainable development and prosperity. They agreed that MLC needs to contribute more actively to the region’s socio-economic development, narrow the development gap among the member countries, assist the building of the ASEAN Community, and cooperate with other mechanisms like the Greater Mekong Subregion and the Mekong River Commission.
The leaders adopted the Phnom Penh Declaration and the five-year MLC action plan for 2018-2022, which feature major orientations and measures for implementing cooperation in the three pillars of security-politics, economic and sustainable development, and society, culture and people-to-people exchange.
They applauded the 214 MLC projects proposed by the member countries and agreed to gradually expand cooperation to big projects of the subregion on the basis of maximising the MLC Special Fund and financial sources mobilised from governments, the private sector, and international financial organisations.
They agreed to consider water resource cooperation as a high priority area, increase cooperation in managing and using water resources sustainably through such activities as policy dialogue, sharing information and hydrological data, carrying out joint research and pilot projects relating to water resources of the Mekong-Lancang River, and considering the establishment of a hotline for emergency situations.
Speaking at the meeting, PM Phuc affirmed Vietnam’s attachment of importance and contribution to MLC over the past years. In terms of cooperation in the next five years, he called for more attention to increasing cooperation in protecting, managing and using the Mekong River’s water resources in an effective and sustainable manner, thus turning water resource cooperation into a cooperation focus of the six countries.
Priorities in the short term should include increasing sharing information and hydro-meteorological statistics, cooperating in response to drought and flood, conducting joint scientific studies, and considering the building of regulations on inter-reservoir operations along the Lancang-Mekong River, the Vietnamese leader said.
He also suggested developing completed and interconnected infrastructure systems to facilitate the movement of goods, services, capital and people. The Mekong-Lancang countries should be assisted to make use of opportunities from Industry 4.0 through sharing experience, knowledge and technology to promote industrialisation in the member nations; developing businesses and training skillful labourers; attracting resources into infrastructure development and creating conditions for projects to tap their potential and strength; providing jobs for people; enhancing cooperation in researching and transferring technology to develop agriculture, especially hi-tech organic farming.
Vietnam’s proposals and contributions were shown in the meeting’s documents and highly valued by the member countries.
At the meeting, PM Phuc and other leaders attended a ceremony handing over the MLC co-chairmanship to Laos, a joint press conference on the meeting’s outcomes, and a photo exhibition on Mekong-Lancang achievements.
On the sidelines of the event, PM Phuc had working sessions with Cambodian PM Hun Sen, Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and Thai PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha.