Lower Mekong Initiative
The Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) is a multinational effort initiated by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2009 to foster integrated sub-regional cooperation and capacity building among Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam and United States, in the areas of education, health, environment, drinking water, climate change and connectivity.
Myanmar has formally joined the initiative in July 2012.
The LMI provides a “minilateral” framework for cooperation between the US and the four lower riparian states of the Mekong. The LMI was created in response to the 2009 meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Foreign Ministers of the Lower Mekong Countries in Phuket, Thailand. The United States will assist in developing environmental programs in the Mekong region to help address future challenges. The programs include the development of “Forecast Mekong,” a predictive modelling tool to illustrate the impact of climate change and other challenges to the sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin. United States intends to commit substantial resources to LMI over the next three years through the Asia Pacific Security Engagement Initiative (APSEI). Under the banner “LMI 2020” US aims to expand existing efforts to bolster regional capacity to combat cross-border challenges and promote sub-regional institutional and people-to-people connectivity.
The 5th LMI ministerial meet was held in July 2012 where Clinton clearly articulated importance of LMI for US larger strategy in Asia, promote economic development, and strengthen people-to-people ties. She also declared new long term commitment by the United States to support the Lower Mekong Initiative. “LMI 2020” with broader collaboration with US and the four countries of Mekong region.