The Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), established in 2009 by the United States and the countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, seeks to encourage equitable, sustainable, and inclusive growth in the Lower Mekong Region. LMI seeks to meet regional development challenges by implementing capacity building projects and programs with active involvement and close cooperation of LMI governments.
Goal: To deliver equitable, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth among the five LMI partner countries by promoting connectivity and collaboratively addressing regional trans-boundary development and policy challenges.
1. To promote sustainable growth through regional capacity-building activities, establishment of platforms for dialogue, and facilitation of opportunities for exchange of expertise and best practices.
2. To strengthen regional connectivity by building connections between institutions, the public and private sectors, and people within the Mekong Region and with the United States.
3. To work with the Lower Mekong countries and international donors to identify solutions for key regional challenges, focusing on the water, energy, and food security nexus, and gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Pillars: LMI is structured into six “pillars” that manage the policy and program activities falling under that respective “pillar.” Each pillar is co-chaired between a Lower Mekong country and the United States (see below).
· Environment and Water (co-chaired by Vietnam and the U.S.)
· Health (co-chaired by Cambodia and the U.S.)
· Agriculture (co-chaired by Myanmar and the U.S.)
· Connectivity (co-chaired by Laos and the U.S.)
· Education (co-chaired by Thailand and the U.S.)
· Energy Security (co-chaired by Thailand and the U.S.)
Activities: LMI’s objectives are met in each of LMI’s six pillars and in the two cross-cutting areas through technical assistance, educational exchanges, private sector partnerships, third country trainings, and other programs.
“Friends” of the Lower Mekong: In partnership with LMI the “Friends” of the Lower Mekong is a consortium of U.S. and like-minded donors actively engaged in regional development, international policy coordination, and multinational private sector engagement. The “Friends” include: Australia, New Zealand, the World Bank, the ADB, Japan, S. Korea, and the EU.