|Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and other members of the Vietnamese delegation attend the 12th MGC Ministerial Meeting via videoconference on July 16.__Photo: VNA|
In a fast changing world, the Mekong - Ganga cooperation (MGC) should prioritize assisting member countries to improve their competitiveness and obtain sustainable development, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son told the 12th MGC Ministerial Meeting on July 16.
The hybrid event saw the participation of the foreign ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. In his speech, Son affirmed the importance Vietnam attaches to and its effective contributions to the MGC.
Suggesting three groups of cooperation measures, he said that first, economic connectivity between the Mekong countries and India should be enhanced to boost recovery and sustainable growth, new measures devised to facilitate cross-border trade, investment opportunities promoted, businesses’ connectivity supported, transport connectivity stepped up, and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises assisted.
Second, member countries should guarantee a green and sustainable future for the next generations via cooperation in response to food, water and energy security challenges; transferring technology and investing in clean and renewable energy; and mobilizing resources for supporting energy transition.
And Third, they should increase people-to-people exchanges to help strengthen their friendship and partnerships. The minister called for boosting cooperation in education and vocational training to help meet the huge demand for high-quality human resources, and expanding tourism links, especially in culinary and wedding tourism, to help recover the economies. He also asked India to continue assisting the Mekong countries to preserve UNESCO-recognized cultural heritage elements.
The Vietnamese official also proposed some joint activities to mark the MGC’s 25th anniversary in 2025.
At the meeting, participants noted that for more than 20 years since its inception, the MGC has helped reinforce friendship, promote socio-economic development, narrow the development gap among the members, and contribute to the building of the ASEAN Community and the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
The Mekong countries appreciated India’s financial aid for 105 projects on reducing poverty in remote areas and supplying clean water and building houses of culture in rural areas under the Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) program, including 46 projects in Vietnam.
They shared the view that the region is facing many challenges in the post-pandemic period, but there are also numerous opportunities they need to seize.
Discussing the MGC orientations for the coming time, the ministers agreed to focus on trade and investment facilitation, connectivity enhancement, education, sustainable management of trans-boundary water resources, science and technology, agriculture, health care, culture, and tourism.
They highly valued and approved India’s initiative on setting up a mechanism for coordinating the MGC sectoral cooperation and an MGC business council to encourage enterprises’ contributions and boost substantive cooperation, thereby generating benefits for people and businesses.
The officials agreed to extend the MGC Plan of Action 2019 - 2022 until the end of 2024, and to hold the 13th MGC Ministerial Meeting in 2024.-(VNA/VLLF)