The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Department of State of the United States of America co-hosted the 1st Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) Policy Dialogue during 9 � 10 April 2019 at the Renaissance Hotel, Bangkok. Dr. Vilawan Mangklatanakul, Director-General, Department of International Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, and Mr. Peter Haymond, Charge d'affaires of the Embassy of the United States of America in Thailand, delivered the opening remarks.

The 1st LMI Policy-Dialogue is a newly established platform for LMI countries (U.S., Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam) and the Friends of the Lower Mekong (Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, Japan, Republic of Korea, Asian Development Bank, and World Bank) to discuss ways and means of enhancing cooperation under the two 'nexus pillars' of (1) Water-Energy-Food-Environment, and (2) Human Development and Connectivity.

Participants held wide ranging discussions on a number of areas: trans-boundary water management, with focus on exchanges of water data and ways of employing 'Big Data' technology to predict drought and flood in the sub-region; energy security, highlighting issues relating to energy infrastructure projects; education, with useful exchanges on the application of STEM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in the sub-region. Substantial progress was also made in the area of connectivity infrastructure, whereby the U.S. presented new financial mechanisms to fund new infrastructure, energy, and digital-economy related projects. The U.S. also expressed interest in Thailand's recommendation to implement Ayeyawady � Chao Phraya � Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) prioritised projects under the said mechanism.

LMI countries also discussed the preparation of the new LMI Master Plan (2020 � 2025) in line with the ACMECS Master Plan 2019 � 2023, the establishment of the LMI Special Fund, and possible activities to commemorate the 10th anniversary of LMI in August 2019 during LMI Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok.

The LMI is a U.S. initiative announced in 2009 by the then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Its main objectives are to promote peace and prosperity through sustainable development paradigms that are implemented by the two nexus pillar mechanisms mentioned above and two cross-cutting issues, namely: gender equality and women empowerment; and the promotion of public-private partnership.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand