On August 9, 2014, Secretary John Kerry and the Foreign Ministers of the Lower Mekong partner countries launched the LMI Eminent and Expert Persons Group at the LMI Ministerial Meeting. As a first priority, the Ministers tasked the group with finding concrete ways to promote a sustainable future for the Mekong River Basin in the context of environmental sustainability and water, energy, and food security.
The inaugural meeting of the EEPG will be held on the sidelines of the LMI Regional Working Group meeting in December 2014 in Myanmar. The EEPG will provide their recommendations to the LMI Senior Officials Meeting in 2015.
The LMI Eminent and Expert Persons are Dr. Sok Siphana, Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia; Mr. Phetsamone Viraphanh, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and Dr. Siviengphet Phetvorasack, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Lao PDR; U Than Aye, Vice President of the Academy of Agriculture, Forestry, Livestock and Fishery and Dr. Saw Plei Saw, Pro-Rector of the University of Veterinary Science from Myanmar; Dr. Suthad Setboonsarng, Former Deputy Secretary at the ASEAN Secretariat and Dr. Ruth Banomyong, Assocciate Professor at Thammasat University from Thailand; Dr. Karl Jackson, Director of Southeast Asia Studies at the Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Richard Cronin, Director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Stimson Center will represent the United States; and Mr. Vo Tri Thanh, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Planning and Investment will represent Vietnam.
The EEPG was established to provide strategic oversight and guidance to the work of the Lower Mekong Initiative and to ensure that the work of the Initiative is focused on the needs of partner countries and is coordinated with the work and objectives of the ASEAN Secretariat more broadly. The EEPG will work with LMI, the Friends of the Lower Mekong, and, where applicable, ASEAN representatives and other institutions to achieve the best outcomes for LMI.