Remarks by Vice President Harris during the roundtable discussion with environmental and clean energy leaders

Head of Mission Residence
Bangkok, Thailand

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Ambassador Godec. And thank you for your leadership and service to our nation and the partnership and relationship we have with Thailand, for being here on the ground and doing so much important work. Many Thanks.

And to the executives who have joined us for this discussion, thank you and good to see you. I look forward to a lively discussion on so many very important and critical issues.

The climate crisis sits at the intersection of so many priorities. As we reflect on the impact of the climate crisis, it impacts our societal goals of supporting public health, sustainable livelihoods and economic growth, in addition to protecting our precious planet.

In particular, we know that the climate crisis poses a real threat to Mekong-dependent communities in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma.

There are droughts, floods and extreme heat. And this is in addition to the effects of upstream development. So these are going to be some of the issues that we are going to discuss today so I can hear from the leaders here on the ground what you see in terms of the details and the implications of this and what we can do together to address some of these issues.

In order to fully understand the impact of this crisis and to develop lasting solutions, all of us as leaders must ensure that all voices are around the table, as we cannot fully and fully address these issues if we as elected leaders are not in touch with People who are on the ground to inform our decisions and help make the decisions in a way that impacts real people on a daily basis.

That is why we all need to work together – civil society, the private sector and governments. And that’s why we’re here, and that’s why I’ve asked these leaders to come to this table to call you together so that we can have this discussion.

And so we have gathered here activists focused on protecting the environment, including the Mekong River and all the livelihoods that the Mekong River supports. At this table sit business leaders who are building a clean energy future. And thank you all again.

Bold climate action is not only necessary to protect the people of our planet and our natural resources, but it’s also a powerful engine for economic growth, something we’ve actually been talking about over the past few days at the APEC convenings.

As such, I am pleased to announce today increased United States support for the Mekong and the region as it seizes the economic opportunities associated with clean energy.

In particular, I am proud to announce that the United States plans to allocate up to $20 million in funding to the Japan-US-Mekong Power Partnership – $20 million earmarked to provide resources to meet some of those most pressing needs.

This partnership with Japan aims to accelerate the clean energy transition and strengthen energy security in the Mekong region.

In addition, we take measures to protect the environment around the Mekong. For example, supporting the Mekong-Mississippi Sister Rivers partnership, which shares water resource management tools and best practices.

In closing, I would like to say that these are just a few of the many ways we can and will work together.

I believe that we must come together so that we as a collective whole, as a society as a whole, can accurately, appropriately and responsibly address this climate crisis. We must respect the tools, expertise and skills that everyone brings to this conversation and to the work we will do as a collective. But we can’t do it, none of us, alone. And that’s why I asked you to come and promote this approach, which I know we all share.

The United States is committed to supporting the economic development of the Mekong region. And we will continue to invest our resources in a clean energy future, both here and around the world.

And so, once again, thank you all for your leadership. I’m looking forward to our conversation.

And with that, I thank the press for being here and say goodbye for now so we can begin our discussion. Many Thanks.

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