Fourteen development projects in the Mekong Basin are still in need of financial resources, while 37 projects have already taken off and are already at different levels of implementation. The ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) were updated of the projects’ progress at the 13th Ministerial Meeting of the ASEAN-Mekong Basin Development Cooperation (AMBDC) held here today.

The Ministers were informed that as of 10 August this year, there are 51 projects under the AMBDC with fourteen projects still require funding totalling US$272.5 million. AMBDC projects are diverse in areas and cover those of infrastructure, trade and investment, agriculture, forestry and minerals, industry, tourism, human resource development, as well as science and technology.

The AMBDC provides a critical link to the development cooperation framework of the countries surrounding the Mekong River’s banks. The AMBDC’s overall objectives are to advance ASEAN integration by enhancing economically sound and sustainable development of the Mekong basin. In doing so, it encourages a process of dialogue and common project identification to achieve economic partnerships for mutual benefit. It also strengthens interconnections and economic linkages between the ASEAN Member States and the Mekong countries, including China.

Earlier, on Wednesday, the Senior Economic Officials held a Steering Committee Meeting to prepare for today’s Ministerial Meeting.

The 13th AMBDC Ministerial Meeting, which was chaired by H.E. Mari Elka Pangestu, Minister of Trade of Indonesia and this year’s AEM Chair, was attended by Economic Ministers from the ASEAN Member States and H.E. Li Pumin, Deputy Secretary-General, National Development and Reform Commission, the People’s Republic of China, who was representing the Commission’s Vice Chairman, H.E. Du Ying.

The last Ministerial Meeting on AMBDC was held on 27 August last year in Da Nang, Viet Nam. The AMBDC was established in 1996 and meets annually. The next AMBDC Ministerial Meeting will be held in Cambodia in late August next year.