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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

U.S.-Vietnam Cooperation on the Environment


Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 15, 2013

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The United States and Vietnam are working closely together to tackle some of the most difficult environmental challenges of our day. Our efforts focus on climate change, clean energy, sustainable infrastructure, ecosystem and water resource management, and wildlife trafficking.

Lower Mekong Initiative

  • The United States and Vietnam co-chair the Lower Mekong Initiative’s Environment and Water Pillar. The Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI) is a multinational effort to address cross-border development and policy challenges facing the five Lower Mekong partner countries. Through LMI, we are working in a regional context to promote sustainable, environmentally-friendly economic development.

Climate Change

  • Since its launch in September 2012, USAID’s Forests and Deltas (VFD) project has helped Vietnam increase the resilience of people, places, and livelihoods in the Red River and Mekong River delta areas through assistance for adaptation to climate change and disaster risk management. The project will expand in the coming months into the Mekong Delta’s Long An Province, a low-lying area highly vulnerable to climate change.
  • Vietnam is a valued partner in the U.S. initiative to Enhance Capacity for Low-Emission Development Strategies (EC-LEDS). Through this initiative, the United States provides technical support for developing and implementing a long-term strategy for robust, low-carbon growth.
  • The Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) program by USAID is working to reduce deforestation and forest degradation by strengthening capacity to manage forest resources, improving policies for sustainable management, demonstrating sustainable land management practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthening regional learning networks.
  • The U.S. Geological Survey’s Forecast Mekong program provides a forum for regional partners, scientists, and engineers in the Lower Mekong Basin to share data, support local research efforts, and elevate knowledge about the vital importance of the Mekong River and Delta in maintaining food security and livelihoods in the region.

Clean Energy

  • USAID’s Clean Energy program is supporting Vietnam’s initiatives to use energy more efficiently and reduce carbon emissions related to the energy sector.
  • The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is supporting the Mekong Renewable Resources Fund (MRRF) through a $50 million financing facility. The MRRF is a private equity fund managed by Indochina Capital investing in the Renewable Energy and Efficiency, Environmental Services, and Sustainable Forestry and Plantations sectors in Vietnam and other Lower Mekong countries.

Sustainable Infrastructure

  • Launched in November 2013 under the framework of LMI, the USAID-supported Smart Infrastructure for the Mekong (SIM) program aims to support informed, science-based decision-making on infrastructure. Governments in Vietnam and Laos are working on concept notes to initiate collaborative activities with experts from the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • The Mississippi and Mekong River Commissions have formed the “Sister River Partnership,” regularly exchanging information on basin management challenges and best practices on water resources management through professional exchanges and site visits.

Biodiversity Conservation/Wildlife Trafficking

  • Stopping the illegal global trade in endangered species such as rhinos and elephants is a priority for the United States. In Vietnam, we work closely with the government and civil society to protect species through technical assistance from U.S. wildlife experts and public awareness campaigns.
  • Through USAID’s ARREST program, we are working to reduce consumer demand in Vietnam and Asia at large, strengthening law enforcement capacities, and building regional cooperation and supporting networks to combat wildlife trafficking, including the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network.

Environmental Research Collaboration

  • Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) is a global USAID competitive grants program that supports research partnerships between developing country scientists and U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded collaborators in the Lower Mekong Region, including researchers in Vietnam.
  • In September 2013, the U.S. and Vietnam established a working group on Conservation Science as part of our bilateral Science and Technology cooperation. This is strengthening the institutional links for scientific exchange and creating new opportunities for collaboration in the field of conservation.



PRN: 2013/1580



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