FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii (January 18, 2024) — As climate change casts a growing shadow on water resources globally, the annual Sister Rivers Exchange, taking place Jan. 22 to 26 in Thailand and Vietnam, brings together leading experts, policymakers, and stakeholders from the Mekong region and the United States to collaborate on solutions to increasing challenges over water security and river management.
Sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), representatives from the Mekong River Commission (MRC-Mekong), Mississippi River Commission (MRC-USA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and USACE Pacific Ocean Division (POD) will bring diverse perspectives to the table. The goal is to share solutions and best practices to address challenges facing both regions.
This year’s multilateral exchange is spearheaded by the CEO of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat, Dr. Anoulak Kittikhoun, as well as the Heads of Delegation and Joint Committee members from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam. Last year’s exchange was hosted by USACE POD in southern California.
"The Sister Rivers Partnership Exchange embodies the spirit of global cooperation. As we convene in Thailand and Vietnam, we recognize the urgency of collaborative action to ensure the sustainable future of our water resources," said Kittikhoun.
As part of the Mekong River Basin, Thailand and Vietnam both enjoy rich water heritages. This weeklong exchange will be set against the backdrop of the vital river, one of the most diverse freshwater habitats in the world, and will emphasize the cultural, environmental and economic significance of the Mekong.
"The Pacific Ocean Division is proud to be part of this impactful event. By fostering collaboration across diverse regions, we are actively contributing to the resilience of our water systems, and in turn, the many communities that rely on them," stated Brig. Gen. Kirk E. Gibbs, USACE Pacific Ocean Division commanding general.
Key activities during the week include a reciprocal technical exchange and visits to the Hydro-Informatics Institute in Bangkok, Southern Regional Hydrometeorological Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Bong Bot Sluice Gate in Tra Vinh province, Vietnam, and Tra Su Mangrove Forest and Nam Viet Corporation in An Giang province, Vietnam.
Brig. Gen. Kimberly Peeples, the MRC-USA president and USACE Mississippi Valley Division commanding general, emphasized the importance of the partnership and international collaboration to address shared challenges.
"The Mississippi River Commission is eager to continue fortifying a relationship built on a collective effort to sustain water resources,” said Peeples. “We are excited to continue this longstanding partnership, deepening and expanding our relationships in the region.”
Stay connected via our official event hashtag: #SisterRiversExchange on social media platforms.
About the Sister Rivers Exchange:
The Sister Rivers Partnership was launched in 2010 to formalize collaboration in water resource management; the exchange program accomplishes this through its promotion of international collaboration, technical exchanges, and sharing of best practices, which enhances transboundary river governance, disaster risk mitigation, and sustainable development – all aimed to promote stability and prosperity.
For more information or media inquiries, please contact:
Ms. Susan Lee, Deputy Public Affairs Officer
Pacific Ocean Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Email: email@example.com | Phone: 808.835.4716
Ms. Nikki Nobles, Deputy Public Affairs Officer
Mississippi Valley Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Email: Nakeir.L.Nobles@usace.army.mil | Phone: 601.634.5998