Press Release

Stimson Center to Host Mekong-U.S. Partnership Track 1.5 Policy Dialogues with IUCN

Conference will serve as an opportunity for local Mekong stakeholders to voice key concerns and challenges facing the Mekong region

Keynote by Ambassador Atul Keshap, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Featuring Brian Eyler

The Stimson Center and the International Union of Nature (IUCN) will host six Mekong-US Partnership Track 1.5 Policy Dialogues, with the first four-day event beginning March 19. The opening plenary session will feature keynote remarks from Ambassador Atul Keshap, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and a high-level panel. The opening plenary session is open to the public and press. RSVP to attend opening plenary: March 19, 8:30am ICT (9:30pm EDT).

The five remaining Policy Dialogues will take place over the next three years. Together, the conferences will engage government and non-government stakeholders from across the Mekong region on a range of issues, including: Connectivity, energy and infrastructure, non-traditional security, transboundary water governance, and nature-based solutions. These events are part of the Mekong-U.S. Partnership’s larger efforts to promote stability, peace, prosperity, and sustainable development in the Mekong sub-region.

Ambassador Atul Keshap, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs said, “We aim to support  regional efforts to preserve a free and open Mekong region that guarantees opportunity and dignity for people in the region.  We will focus our work on helping our Mekong partners to strengthen good governance, economic independence, and sustainable development by promoting a transparent, rules-based approach to transboundary challenges.”

Brian Eyler, Director of the Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia Program, said “Stimson and IUCN designed this first Partnership Track 1.5 Policy Dialogue as a platform for local voices to express needs and challenges related to economic development, sustainability, and non-traditional security issues such as pandemic response and transnational organized crime. The United States, through current and future government and non-government efforts has a lot to offer the Mekong region, but those efforts are most likely to succeed when they meet actual needs as articulated by local stakeholders.”

The Mekong-U.S. Partnership promotes the stability, peace, prosperity, and sustainable development of the Mekong sub-region through cooperation among the Mekong partner countries and the United States. It further reinforces the strong and longstanding relationship among the United States, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The Partnership builds upon 11 years of cooperation and progress through the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) to expand collaboration in the face of new challenges and opportunities.  The Partnership supports the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision and is an integral part of support and cooperation between the United States and ASEAN. 

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The Stimson Center promotes international security, shared prosperity, and justice through applied research and independent analysis, deep engagement, and policy innovation.

For three decades, Stimson has been a leading voice on urgent global issues. Founded in the twilight years of the Cold War, the Stimson Center pioneered practical new steps toward stability and security in an uncertain world. Today, as changes in power and technology usher in a challenging new era, Stimson remains at the forefront: Engaging new voices, generating innovative ideas and analysis, and building solutions to promote international security, prosperity, and justice.

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