U.S. Collaboration with the Lower Mekong Countries on the Environment, Health and Education
Environment: The U.S. will spend more than $7 million in 2009 on environmental programs in the Mekong Region. Programs in this area include:
- Development of “Forecast Mekong,” a predictive modeling tool to illustrate the impact of climate change and other challenges to the sustainable development of the Mekong River Basin.
- An agreement between the Mekong River Commission and the Mississippi River Commission to pursue a “sister-river” partnership to improve the management of trans-boundary water resources.
- Support for projects that promote the sustainable use of forest and water resources, preserve the tremendous biodiversity of the Mekong Basin, and increase access to safe drinking water.
- The U.S. is seeking Congressional approval for an additional $15 million in 2010 for assistance related to improving food security in the Mekong countries.
- HIV/AIDS – working in partnership with Mekong countries, ongoing U.S. assistance has contributed to the 50% reduction in HIV/AIDS infection rate in Cambodia, and provided treatment and prevention services to over 2 million people across the region.
- Pandemic influenza – the U.S. has provided $95 million since 2006 to support ongoing programs in Mekong countries to prepare for, and respond to threats from, outbreaks of pandemic influenza.
- Malaria and tuberculosis – U.S. assistance supports the tracking, identification and treatment of multi- drug resistant malaria and TB in the Mekong region.
- Plans to hold a “U.S.-Mekong Conference on Integrated Approaches to Infectious Disease” in the next 6-9 months.
- Support for more than 500 student and scholarly exchanges with Mekong countries each year through the Fulbright Program and other educational programs.
- Support for increasing basic education enrollment and expanding broadband Internet connectivity in rural communities.
- Plans to hold a “U.S.-Mekong Forum on the Internet, Education and Development” to promote best practices and regional collaboration on the use of internet connectivity to foster development.