18 July 2023

Dr. SOK Siphana Leads Cambodian Delegation at 12th MGC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Dr. SOK Siphana, our Founding Partner, representing H.E PRAK Sokhonn, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, led the Cambodian Delegation to attend the 12th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on July 16, 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The meeting was attended by the Foreign Ministers of six countries: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and India. The meeting aimed to review the progress of the MGC cooperation and discuss new initiatives to enhance collaboration among the member countries in various fields such as tourism, culture, education, transport, communication, and more.

During this significant gathering, the pivotal significance of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway was highlighted. As a substantial infrastructure project aimed at fostering economic and cultural ties between India and the Mekong nations, aligning seamlessly with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 and India’s Act East Policy, this project is designed to elevate connectivity in the region.

The 12th MGC meeting also outlined a visionary path for the MGC’s future, highlighting digital transformation, environmental sustainability, and intensified economic, trade, and investment cooperation.

Some of the key outcomes of the 12th MGC meeting were:

The meeting agreed to expedite the construction of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway to enhance connectivity between the Mekong sub-region and the Indian sub-continent, as well as the signing of the Motor Vehicle Agreement and related documents to facilitate seamless connectivity among India, Myanmar and Thailand and its eastward extension to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The meeting also emphasized the significance of the synergy between the MGC and other sub-regional and regional cooperation frameworks, particularly the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and ASEAN.

The meeting expressed support for the “READY” approach as proposed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand to advance the MGC towards the future. The R stands for Resilience, E for Environmental Sustainability, A for Adaptation and D for Diversification of Economies, and Y for the MGC Year of Exchange in 2025 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of MGC. The “READY” approach aims at strengthening the MGC in the post-pandemic economic recovery, enhancing readiness for future challenges and raising awareness about the MGC among MGC countries, particularly the younger generation.

The meeting adopted the Joint Statement of the 12th MGC FMM with its two Annexes, which are the Concept Paper on the Revitalization of the MGC Lead Country Mechanism in ten areas of cooperation of the MGC and the Concept Paper on the Establishment of the MGC Business Council. These two Annexes were developed based on Thailand’s proposal at the 11th MGC FMM in 2021.

About the MGC:

The MGC is an initiative that was launched in 2000 to promote economic cooperation and connectivity between the two major river basins of Ganga and Mekong, which are both civilizational rivers with rich cultural and historical heritage. The MGC is the first cooperation framework between the Mekong sub-region and an external partner. It has ten areas of cooperation: tourism, culture, education, transport and communication, public health and traditional medicine, agriculture and allied sectors, water resources management, science and technology, skill development and capacity building, and small and medium enterprises.