Mekong virtual symposium

Thank you for attending the first event in the Mekong Virtual Symposium series! This event, held on July 15, 2020, focused on solutions and opportunities to address drought and salinity in the Mekong Delta. Stay tuned for updates on the next program in October 2020. 

The U.S. Department of State has launched the Mekong Virtual Symposium, a series of virtual dialogues in collaboration with key stakeholders and partners in the Mekong region. These engagements, held approximately quarterly, support the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) and the Mekong Water Data Initiative (MWDI). Due to COVID-19 and the significant disruption of travel and in-person meetings, we need to adapt the format of our programs and engagements. The Mekong Virtual Symposium seeks to respond to these challenges and provide an ongoing and virtual platform to strengthen collaboration and build capacity in the region. Future topics will cover issues such as sand mining in the Mekong River, groundwater, the Tonle Sap Lake, plastics and marine debris in the Mekong, and other emerging challenges and opportunities. 

Fostering Solutions and Collaboration for a Sustainable Mekong River Delta

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 • 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM ICT

(Tuesday, July 14, 2020 • 10:00 PM – 11:30 PM EDT)

As part of the U.S. Vision for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific the U.S. government is committed to providing a platform that encourages information sharing, dialogue, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement for cooperative, responsible management of the Mekong River. The U.S. engagement with the Mekong region has long emphasized cooperation on water-related policy and program activities.  This engagement builds trust among partners and stakeholders and strengthens cooperation not only on water issues but for natural resources management more broadly.


This program will engage key stakeholders about the importance of managing drought and salinity and how to mitigate the adverse effects of saltwater in delta ecosystems. The Mekong River is home to one of the most productive and biodiverse river ecosystems in the world with over 1,100 species of fish.  The Mekong River provides freshwater for these ecosystems and for agriculture, fisheries, drinking water, transportation, and energy. Every year, saltwater intrusion, or the presence of saltwater in inland rivers or groundwater, renders freshwater resources unusable for agriculture or drinking.  Saltwater intrusion in the Mekong River, and especially in the delta, is exacerbated by drought, sea level rise, and lower water levels in the river from increasing dam and infrastructure development.  


This program on managing drought and salinity builds upon existing efforts in the Mekong region to strengthen collaboration and dialogue on water issues and solutions and supports the Mekong Water Data Initiative (MWDI).  The MWDI aims to strengthen the capacity of Lower Mekong countries to collect, analyze, and manage water and water-related data in order to reduce water-related risks and promote sustainable economic development across the water, food, energy, and environment nexus.


U.S.-based experts engage with Mekong stakeholders to identify strategies and methods to foster longer-term information sharing, collaboration, and expert consultation. This program benefits regional mid-level water, rural and urban development, energy, environment, and health ministry officials, water resource managers and utility operators, academics, and civil society in the Lower Mekong region.


Missed the event or want to learn more?

Check out the panelist presentations below and the recorded program in English and Vietnamese! We will be sharing answers to audience questions and the full set of comments soon.













Dr. Nguyen Huong Thuy Phan, Graduate Institute Geneva, Development Policies and Practices Executive Master Program


Mr. Kib Jacobson, Project Manager, Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 

Ms. Nguyen Hong Phuong, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Mekong Committee 

Dr. Van Pham Dang Tri, Vice Dean, College of Environment and Natural Resources, Can Tho University

Mr. Malcolm Wilson, Chief, Water Resources & Compliance Group, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 

Comments or Questions on MVS?

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