Monday, July 26, 2010

US to spend $187 million on Lower Mekong Initiative

Media Newswire: The United States will spend approximately $187 million on projects to help four nations of the Lower Mekong River basin lessen the impact of climate change on water resources, food security and the health and livelihoods of nearly 60 million people.

During the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN ) meeting July 22 in Hanoi, Vietnam, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton described growing cooperation between the United States and the Lower Mekong countries — Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The spending plan for 2010 covers environmental issues, health concerns, and education and training, with the largest share going to health programs.

“Managing this resource and defending it against threats like climate change and infectious disease is a transnational challenge,” Clinton told foreign ministers from the four countries at a private meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN forum. “Regional cooperation is essential to meeting that challenge, to preserving the ecological diversity and fertility of the Mekong region,” she said. “We expect to continue similar levels of funding for the next two years.”

More than 60 million people in four countries live in the Lower Mekong basin, which is an area of approximately 606,000 square kilometers in Southeast Asia. The Mekong River Commission has reported that climate change most likely will increase flooding throughout the region, which will affect food production and food security….

Floating market of Cần Thơ, Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Shot by Doron, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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