The 5th Anniversary of the Establishment of Mekong-Lancang Cooperation – March 23, 2016-2021

) The Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) was established on 23 March 2016. This year marks the Fifth Anniversary of MLC, which comprises of six member countries, namely the Lao PDR, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and China with the objective of promoting and enhancing socio-economic development on the basis of cooperation for equality, mutual benefits and unity towards a shared prosperity.

The Mekong-Lancang Cooperation has evolved around 3 pillars: Political and Security, Economic and Sustainable Development, Social Cultural and People to People Exchange, focusing on 5 priority areas, such as Connectivity, Production Capacity, Cross-Border Economic Cooperation, Water Resource Management, Agriculture and Poverty Reduction.

Over the past five years, MLC has made remarkable achievements reflecting reality and specific regional development in the Mekong region offering both opportunities and challenges. Various MLC-led cooperation mechanisms have been established that include six priority Working Groups, MLC Special Fund to which China has contributed USD 300 million as well as establishment of the MLC National Secretariat serving as the Coordination Unit in all six member countries with a view to facilitating coordination and collaboration amongst relevant authorities to ensure effective and efficient MLC cooperation and implementation of outcome documents adopted at Leaders’ Meetings and Plan of Action on MLC in order to bring tangible result to the region.

Additionally, many cooperation centers were established to support the five priority areas such as MLC Water Resource Management Centre, MLC Environmental Centre, Youth Cooperation and Exchange Centre, Vocational Training Centre, Agriculture Centre and Global Centre for Mekong Study, etc.

The Lao PDR is proud to be a founding member of the MLC. Over the past five years it has actively taken part in all cooperation activities. Particularly, the Lao PDR had the honor to co-chair MLC with China during 2018-2020 under the theme: “Enhancing Partnership for Shared Prosperity” and hosted the 4th and the 5th MLC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting as well as the 3rd MLC Leaders’ Meeting via video conference, which adopted the Vientiane Declaration, Co-chairs’ Statement on Cooperation of Synergizing the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor.

In addition to successful MLC co-chairmanship that has elevated the role of the Lao PDR in regional and international arena, the Lao PDR has also gained many tangible benefits from the implementation of MLC projects and programmes, in particular, the Early Harvest Project such as the Laos-China Joint Poverty Alleviation Project in amount of 33 million Yuan, was successfully implemented in 2020 in Vientiane and Luang Prabang.

The project provided small-sized infrastructure such as public health centres, teachers’ dormitories, garbage management, and training programmes on clean and organic farming. Since the establishment of MLC Special Fund projects in 2017, the Lao PDR received a total of 46 approved projects with total amount of US$ 12 million. Currently, eight projects have been completed, 29 projects are ongoing and nine projects are at the preparation stage. All MLC projects and programmes have significantly contributed to socio-economic development of the Lao PDR.

The Lao PDR highly values the achievements made under the MLC framework on the basis of cooperation for peace, stability, solidarity and mutual benefit in order to deepen and widen cooperation in an efficient manner.

On this occasion, the Lao PDR would like to express sincere gratitude to the government of China for giving importance to and supporting MLC throughout the past years especially for the contribution to the MLC Special Fund project which brings significant outcomes and tangible benefits to the Mekong region.

On the occasion of the Fifth Anniversary of Mekong-Lancang Cooperation, I strongly believes that MLC will be further developed and it will enhance partnership between Mekong countries and China, thereby advancing the MLC as the region of long-lasting peace, sustainable development and prosperity while contribute to the attainment of the ASEAN Community building, the Belt-Road Initiative (BRI), South-South Cooperation and the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Lao PDR, as a founding member of MLC, will continue its close cooperation with China and Mekong countries by participating in all MLC activities and jointly implementing MLC ongoing project in an effective manner with an aim of further cultivate the MLC development while ensuring fruitful outcome to all member countries.

Source: Lao News Agency

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