Why the Mekong region matters to New Zealand
From China to Vietnam, traversing six countries in total, the Mekong River is the lifeline of the many millions of people that live along it, through the provision of water, food, energy, transport, irrigation, and sanitation. As populations have grown, and as China has sought to exert greater influence in the region, management of the Mekong has become increasingly complex. New Zealand, which established the Mekong Institute with Thailand in 1996, has remained engaged in the region through the provision of various programs and activities focusing on human resource development and capacity building. In May, the Asia New Zealand Foundation and Thailand’s Institute of Security and International Studies co-convened a Track II (informal diplomacy) dialogue in Thailand to gain a first-hand understanding of the current issues impacting the Mekong region.