Cambodia Highlights Mekong-Ganga Cooperation's Achievements
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation H.E. Prak Sokhonn has lauded the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC)'s active contribution to the development of the Mekong sub-region.
While co-chairing the 11th MGC Foreign Ministers' Meeting with H.E. Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India, via Videoconference on July 21, H.E. Prak Sokhonn emphasised that over the past two decades, many projects and activities under the framework of the MGC have constituted an active part of the development efforts in the Mekong sub-region in the fields of health, education, environment and culture.
At the same time, he continued, the MGC has significantly contributed to the promotion of close relations, mutual understanding and trust, as well as the socio-economic development of the sub-region, which ultimately serve to ensure the wellbeing and prosperity of the peoples of the member countries. H.E. Deputy Prime Minister highlighted India's clear commitment to financing the Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) for Cambodia and other Mekong countries, bringing about tangible results that contribute to improving people’s livelihoods across the sub-region. He also thanked India for increasing its QIPs support for Cambodia.
The Cambodian top diplomat also expressed his support and appreciation for the Asian Traditional Textile Museum (ATTM), which was established in 2014 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, an achievement which demonstrates the relevance and durability of the MGC. Unfortunately, the tourism industry has been severely affected by the pandemic, which has hampered the museum's day-to-day operations. In this regard, he noted that it is only with the support of member countries can we effectively implement a recovery plan that can allow the ATTM to address all its challenges and return to normal operations.
According to a press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation made public this evening, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the MGC (2000-2020), all MGC Ministers commended the progress of the implementation of the four-year MGC Plan of Action 2019-2022. Additionally, the MGC’s official website was inaugurated, and the MGC Video Documentary was presented which showcases the achievements of the cooperation as well as the rich natural, social and cultural resources of the member countries. It should be noted that, initially, a commemoration ceremony of the 20th anniversary of the MGC was scheduled to take place in April 2020 at the ATTM in Siem Reap, Cambodia; it was however postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministers expressed hopes that a celebratory event could be convened in the near future when the situation surrounding COVID-19 improves.
The Ministers praised the mutual support extended to one another by the Mekong-Ganga countries in the fight against COVID-19. With a common understanding of the challenges posed by the pandemic, all the ministers agreed to hold practical workshops to accelerate the process of post-pandemic socio-economic recovery, as well as to promote the exchange of ideas on how to promote public health and ensure health security in the post-COVID-19 world, especially in relation to the development of medical research, and the production and distribution of drugs and vaccines.
The Ministers welcomed India's assistance to the Mekong countries under the MGC QIPs and noted that since its inception in 2015, 38 projects have been completed while 30 other projects are under implementation. The meeting concluded with the adoption of the 11th MGC Ministerial Statement and the circulation of the Progress Report on MGC Plan of Action 2019-2022 and the List of QIPs under this cooperation framework.