FAQs

What is the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI)?

The Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) is a multinational partnership effort initiated by the United States, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in 2009 to promote and to foster integrated sub-regional cooperation and capacity building in the Mekong sub-region. The effort is focused on the six pillars of agriculture and food security, connectivity, education, energy security, environment and water, and health along with cross-cutting issues such as women’s empowerment and gender equality.  LMI has been designed to serve as a forum for LMI partners to develop shared responses to the most pressing cross-border development challenges.  Please click here for more information.

Which Mekong countries are LMI partner countries? Is Myanmar a member?

Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam launched LMI with the United States at its inauguration in 2009. Myanmar joined LMI in July 2012.

How is LMI different from previous U.S. engagement in Southeast Asia?

Through the United States’ long history of engagement with the countries of Southeast Asia, there is an increasing awareness of the growing number of issues that cross national boundaries.  The countries of the Lower Mekong sub-region share a variety of common concerns, including trans-boundary water resources management, infectious diseases such as dengue and pandemic influenza, insufficient resources for critical infrastructure limiting growth and development, and vulnerability to climate change.  LMI seeks to support a common regional understanding of these issues and to facilitate effective, coordinated responses.

What is LMI’s Role in ASEAN?

As an essential mechanism and forum for building cooperation and capacity in the Lower Mekong sub-region, LMI will contribute to efforts to narrow the development gap among ASEAN members. Bridging this gap is especially important for ASEAN’s efforts to build an integrated economic community by 2015.  Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam are ASEAN Member States, while the United States is an active Dialogue Partner.  In particular, LMI and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) coordinate and share information regularly, as these two initiatives have many common goals and areas of engagement.

What are the areas of focus under LMI?

LMI addresses trans-boundary challenges in the Lower Mekong sub-region under six pillars.  The pillars are: agriculture and food security, connectivity, education, energy security, environment and water, and health. In addition to these six pillars, LMI programs include cross-cutting areas such as women’s empowerment and gender equality.  Each pillar’s webpage can provide more information: agriculture and food security, connectivity, education, energy security, environment and water, and health.

What are the LMI Senior Officials Meeting and LMI Ministerial Meetings?

The LMI annual official calendar includes Regional Working Group, Senior Officials’, and Ministerial Meetings. Representatives from the United States, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam meet annually to discuss regional cooperation, engage in policy dialogue, and plan the strategic direction for each pillar.  The LMI Ministerial Meeting is held on the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum.  Senior Officials Meetings can be held on an as needed basis.  Please visit the calendar page for upcoming meetings and the statements and communiques for information on past meetings.

Is LMI primarily geared towards the Mekong River?

The primary aim of LMI is to enhance cooperation among partner countries of the Lower Mekong sub-region and support their political and economic integration.  The term “Lower Mekong sub-region” highlights the role of the Mekong River, both as the unifying geographical feature of the sub-region and as a source of sustenance and livelihood for some 70 million people.  As a result, LMI does include several projects which focus directly on the Mekong River, including the Sister-River Partnership, Forecast Mekong, and direct support to the Mekong River Commission.

How do I share relevant information on lowermekong.org or the LMI social networking sites?

The LMI Coordination Hub, established in 2012, welcomes information that supports the goals of the six LMI pillars (agriculture and food security, connectivity, education, energy security, environment and water, and health) and other cross-cutting areas. Please email any of the below information to the Hub (lmihub@lowermekong.org) at any time:

  • Activity descriptions and upcoming event summaries;
  • High-resolution photos from events and site visits
  • Success stories, press releases, and reports; and
  • Available online media, such as event websites or social networking sites.
Can I submit a proposal to apply for funding or grants from LMI?
LMI is not designed to receive proposals, assistance applications, or funding requests from civil society or the private sector.  However, we are always looking for programming ideas and potential partnerships.  Government officials from Lower Mekong partner countries should contact their Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative in charge of LMI to participate in programming.  For more information, please contact the LMI Coordination Hub (lmihub@lowermekong.org). The USAID global site also welcomes unsolicited contract proposals and assistance applications for consideration.  Please visit USAID’s Unsolicited Proposals and Grant Applications website for more information.
What is LMI 2020?
“LMI 2020” signals the enduring nature of U.S. engagement in the Lower Mekong region.  LMI 2020 complements and dramatically expands existing efforts to bolster regional capacity to combat cross-border challenges and promote sub-regional institutional and people-to-people connectivity.  In 2012, as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific region, the United States committed to provide $50 million over three years to support a substantial expansion of LMI.  The funding supports new programming and activities aimed at strengthening regional capacity to address transnational issues of significant interest to the Lower Mekong sub-region.
Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) is an important convening platform and mechanism to improve donor coordination in programming development assistance and to provide a forum for dialogue on key policy priorities in the Lower Mekong sub-region. Participating FLM members include LMI members Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States, as well as Australia, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank.  Both the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank are engaging in significant areas of programming in the region, including the ADB’s Greater Mekong Subregion program.  The Banks also bring experience in working with the Mekong River Commission and offer opportunities for cooperation with LMI tracts and areas of focus.  For more information on what donors are doing in the Lower Mekong sub-region, please visit the Partners page.

Back to top