BEIJING – China is seeking to take a leadership role in sustainable development and water management work in the region through the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), a mechanism that has already yielded tangible results, such as an environmental policy centre launched in Beijing last year.
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Under the auspices of the LMC, a new institution was created last year to promote China’s environmental policies and boost cooperation among LMC countries in sustainable development: the Lancang-Mekong Environment Cooperation Center.
“Our role is to promote dialogue on environmental policy and green development among the Lancang- Mekong countries,” said Zhou Guomei, the deputy director-general of the institution.
She said they provide guidance to LMC member nations struggling to cope with environmental changes.
“Is not an individual issue. Climate change affects everyone, that’s why we need a supranational organisation like our centre.”
When it comes to Cambodia, Ms Zhou says, her centre has played a pivotal role in developing water pollution management strategies.
Now, in cooperation with LMC members, the centre is working on a five-year regional plan for water management, she said.
The centre was conceived as a tool to complement the work of other mechanisms that deal with environmental issues, such as the Asean+1 (Asean plus China) or the Mekong River Commission.
China also hopes to become a shepherd in the region when it comes to natural disaster response. Yu Xingjun, the deputy director-general of China’s Ministry of Water Resources, said his country is cooperating with LMC countries to help them prepare against floods, droughts and other water-related natural disasters.
“Cooperation with the Mekong countries in flood and drought management has increased notably over the last few years,” Mr Yu said.
The LMC was initiated by China in 2015, and consists of six members – Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, all countries that the Mekong River passes through.
Lancang is the Chinese word for Mekong.