Bagan, Myanmar, 4th July 2022
1.The Seventh Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in Bagan, Republic of the Union of Myanmar, on 4th July 2022. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. U Wunna Maung Lwin, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. H.E. Prak Sokhonn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, H.E. Saleumxay Kommasith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR, H.E. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, and H.E. Bui Thanh Son, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam attended the meeting.
2.The Ministers were aware of the fact that at present COVID-19 keeps flaring up, global economic recovery remains sluggish, the momentum for development cooperation is diminishing, traditional and non-traditional security threats keep emerging, the deficit in peace, security, trust and governance is increasing, global systemic risks are mounting, and the global governance system is facing unprecedented challenges. The Ministers emphasized the need for Mekong-Lancang countries to enhance solidarity and cooperation to navigate through this difficult time, respond to common challenges and to jointly safeguard regional food and energy security, financial system, ecosystem, public health, supply chains and industrial chains, among others.
3.The Ministers emphasized the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable peace, development and prosperity, and encouraged complementarity between MLC and international and regional initiatives and cooperations, including China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative as well as the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plans, the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF) and other Mekong sub-regional cooperation strategies to contribute to achieving this vision. The Ministers called for strengthening South-South cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so as to promote peace and sustainable development in the Mekong-Lancang region and make progress toward building a closer Community with a Shared Future of Peace and Prosperity among Mekong-Lancang countries.
4.The Ministers commended the remarkable development of MLC over its six-year journey of cooperation. Amid the flare-ups of COVID-19 and the uncertain world economic recovery, MLC member countries maintained close exchanges at various levels, jointly boosted economic development, advanced people-to-people exchanges, and addressed common challenges, made positive contributions to promoting the economic recovery of the countries and prosperity and revitalization of the region.
5.The Ministers reaffirmed their shared commitments under the MLC framework to the maintenance and promotion of peace, stability and sustainable development of the Mekong-Lancang region in the spirit of friendship and solidarity and with respect for the United Nations Charter and international laws. They agreed to enhance mutual trust, coordinate their national development strategies, deepen practical cooperation, and jointly address common challenges.
6.The Ministers reaffirmed the principles of Mekong-Lancang Cooperation which are consensus, equality, mutual consultation and coordination, voluntarism, common contribution, shared benefits and respect for the United Nations Charter and international laws as well as observance of domestic laws, regulations and procedures of member countries in cooperation activities.
7.The Ministers exchanged views on the status of implementation on the outcomes of the Sixth MLC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the directives of the Third MLC Leaders’ Meeting. They have reached consensus on the priorities and direction of future cooperation.
8.The Ministers expressed satisfaction on the progress made under the Five-Year Plan of Action on Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (2018-2022), and agreed in principle to submit the Five-Year Plan of Action on Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (2023-2027) to the upcoming Fourth MLC Leaders’ Meeting for adoption. The Ministries recognized the needs to modify and update the Plans of Action for production capacity, connectivity, and cross-border economic cooperation and other sectors taking into account of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic volatility, and urged relevant agencies of the six member countries to expedite the finalization of these Plans of Action.
9.The Ministers of the Mekong countries welcomed the List of Projects supported by LMC Special Fund of 2022 released by China, and expressed their gratitude to China’s continued support for Mekong countries’ efforts towards sustainable and inclusive development. The Ministers of Mekong countries look forward to the expansion of cooperation projects to the local level. The Ministers called for enhanced efficiency, effectiveness and higher qualities in project implementation and encouraged the promotion of wider public recognition of the MLC process.
10.The Ministers agreed to maintain regular high-level exchanges and policy dialogues among member countries to deepen mutual political trust. Respecting the sovereignty of all member countries, the Ministers encouraged furthering non-traditional security cooperation in order to suppress common challenges to the region, particularly transnational crimes, including, but not limited to, illicit drug trafficking, terrorism, cybercrimes, human trafficking, trafficking of firearms and ammunition, trafficking of hazardous waste and e-waste, cross-border gambling and telecom frauds.
11.The Mekong Ministers expressed appreciation to China for the provisions of assistance including vaccine, medical supplies and technology transfer to Mekong countries in the fight against COVID-19. The Ministers called for strengthened cooperation in the prevention and control of other major non-communicable and communicable diseases, such as influenza, malaria, and dengue fever, and encouraged deepening cooperation on capacity building for healthcare professionals and in traditional medicine.
12.The Ministers agreed to deepen cooperation on the key elements conducive to economic resilience and post pandemic economic recovery including but not limited to connectivity, trade, digital economy, finance and financing for development, production capacity, and the supply chain resilience, cross-border economic cooperation and intra-regional investment, green finance, improvement of cross-border trade facilitation and harmonization of rules and regulations, and encouraged to expedite the development of innovation corridors and the joint development of the Mekong-Lancang Economic Development Belt (MLEDB). In this regard, the Ministers support the possibility to expand the Economic Diplomacy dialogue as a platform to further exchange views and information among public and private sectors of the MLC countries.
13.The Ministers commended the tangible achievements made in water resources cooperation. China successfully hosted the Second Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation Forum. At the Forum, the six member countries jointly launched The Beijing Recommendations of the 2nd Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation Forum, which reaffirmed the consensus on the river basin cooperation. The website of the Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform has been operating smoothly, continuously sharing the year-round hydrological data of the Lancang River, and helping member countries further improve capacities in dealing with flood and drought disasters.
14.The Ministers stressed the key and fundamental role of water resources cooperation in building climate resilience and ensuring flood and drought prevention and management, food and energy security, water supply, ecological protection, supporting sustainable economic and social development and serving people’s livelihood. They encouraged the six member countries to press ahead with the development of the Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform for transparent, consistent and timely water data sharing, including exchange of hydro-meteorological data, which is conducive to further cooperation in basin-wide water resources management. They highlighted the significance of more effective and substantive policy dialogues, capacity building and technical exchanges, joint research and pragmatic projects benefiting the peoples, deepening the cooperative relationship between the LMC Water Resources Cooperation Center and the Mekong River Commission Secretariat, and promoting regional green, inclusive, resilient, sustainable and high quality development. The Ministers welcomed the upcoming Second Ministerial Meeting of Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation to be held in Viet Nam in 2022 and looked forward to the second Five-Year Plan of Action on Mekong-Lancang Water Resources Cooperation (2023-2027).
15.The Ministers applauded the steady implementation of the Three-Year Plan of Action on Mekong-Lancang Agricultural Cooperation (2020-2022) and the MLC Bumper Harvest Projects which have greatly contributed to enhancing agricultural production and processing capacity of member countries. They also encouraged relevant agencies to strengthen the role of the MLC Joint Working Group on Agriculture, and to explore the possibility of building the Mekong-Lancang Comprehensive Information Platform for Agricultural Economy, Trade and Technology, as well as to support capacity building in agribusiness including MSMEs to enhance their participation in agricultural value chains and promote youth engagement and employment in the agricultural sector.
16.The Ministers commended the outcomes in implementing the Mekong-Lancang Environmental Cooperation Strategy (2018-2022) and the Green Mekong-Lancang Initiative, welcomed the drafting of the Mekong-Lancang Environmental Cooperation Strategy and Action Framework (2023-2027), and stressed the need to strengthen inter and intra-departmental environmental policy exchanges, to jointly develop the Mekong-Lancang Knowledge Hub for Low-Carbon, Green and Sustainable Infrastructure, and to enhance capacity building in climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, clean energy transition and sustainable infrastructure development. They also agreed to enhance cooperation in Bio-Circular-Green Economy, promote technology and innovative solutions and strengthen multi-stakeholder partnership to facilitate the transition of Mekong-Lancang region towards the long term goal of carbon neutrality and net zero emission.
17.The Ministers stressed the need to enhance exchanges and cooperation on the management and protection of forest resources, conservation of endangered wildlife, legal forest products trade, forest ecological restoration, afforestation and joint forest fire prevention in border areas, and to combat illegal logging and wildlife trafficking so as to improve forestry governance capacity of Mekong-Lancang countries.
18.The Ministers agreed to bolster cooperation on tourism and civil aviation activities and expressed their satisfaction on the holding of the Mekong-Lancang Tourist Cities Cooperation Alliance Assembly and the Mekong-Lancang Mayors’ Forum on Culture and Tourism. They encouraged member countries to support and participate in the events organized by the Alliance. Furthermore, they encouraged the MLC Tourism Authorities to expedite cross-border tourism across the MLC region. They urged aviation enterprises of the six member countries to resume direct and connecting flights in an orderly manner based on the market demand on reciprocal basis in line with relevant policy requirements upon the effective control of COVID-19 situation. They also agreed that, in the long run, member countries should further strengthen cooperation in quality tourism by promoting international accredited sustainable tourism standards across the Mekong-Lancang region.
19.The Ministers agreed to reinforce cooperation on education and human resources development through stepping up platforms for online universities curricula and exploring new channels and models for vocational education and skills development to improve the capacity of MLC member countries to produce skilled workforces.
20.The Ministers supported greater cooperation on people-to-people exchanges through culture, media, sports, and other social activities. They also applauded the annual celebration of the MLC Week in the six member countries in order to raise the MLC awareness and strengthen mutual understanding among the peoples of MLC member countries.
21.The Ministers discussed the possibility of the establishment of Mekong-Lancang Disaster Management Cooperation Mechanism and of the holding of Ministerial Meeting, forums, and dialogues that facilitate exchanges in disaster management policies and plans to improve regional disaster risk monitoring, early warning and mitigation capacity and complement ASEAN-China disaster management cooperation.
22.The Ministers reaffirmed their support for multilateralism, the international order underpinned by the international law, the UN centered international system, and the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization’s rules at its core. Committing to openness and inclusiveness, the Ministers agreed to foster greater synergy between the MLC and other regional and sub-regional cooperation frameworks including Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), the Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperation Program (GMS), the Mekong River Commission (MRC), and other international organizations and institutions, such as the World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). They also welcomed complementarity of the MLC’s roles in promoting ASEAN Community building and regional economic integration.
23.The Ministers emphasized the important role of the MLC National Secretariats/ Coordination Units of the six member countries for the remarkable achievements garnered through the MLC. The Ministers suggested further exploring the possibility of expansion of the Joint Working Group in the new cooperation areas and streamlining organizational structure and communication channels for better coordination.
24.Considering the ever increasing workload of MLC cooperation and to enhance efficiency of MLC cooperation in particular of MLC Special Fund projects, the Ministers encouraged to strengthen communication and coordination among the MLC National Secretariats/ Coordination Units by reinforcing the capacity of their staff and to actively and carefully study the possibility of the establishment of the MLC International Secretariat upon consensus.
25.The Ministers expressed their appreciation to Myanmar for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements of the meeting in Bagan, and reiterated their readiness to work together for the successful convening of the upcoming Fourth MLC Leaders’ Meeting in Myanmar in 2022.