Prime Minister Hun Sen will chair the seventh greater Mekong sub-region summit (GMS) via video conference on September 9 under the theme “Renewed Strength to Face the Challenges of the New Decade”.

The virtual summit will be attended by leaders from the greater Mekong sub-region nations, including premiere of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Keqiang and leaders from Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The summit will also be attended by the president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), according to the press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The meeting will review the progress on cooperation since the last summit held on March 31, 2018, in Vietnam. They will also chart future activities and the direction of the group’s efforts for the next three years with ADB’s support.

“The meeting will also serve as an opportunity for participants to reflect on their commitments and contributions to a more integrated, prosperous, sustainable, and inclusive sub-region in addressing challenges for economic growth and social development in the sub-region, region, and beyond,” the release said.

The ministry said the GMS would focus on sub-regional projects of high priority in the fields of transport, energy, telecommunications, environment, human resource development, tourism, trade, private sector investment and agriculture.

Separately, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) on September 7 issued a press statement saying the Lower Mekong region remains highly vulnerable to both increased flooding and droughts, reflecting the unpredictable and erratic course that climate change has set humanity on.

It said to offset these increased risks, the MRC and its partners have been deploying innovative information and communication technologies to assist governments and communities with managing extreme weather conditions.

MRC said earlier this year that they and the Korea Development Institute (KDI) launched a joint research project aimed at demonstrating how high-tech solutions can support Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in their efforts to minimise the impacts of both floods and droughts.

“By using state-of-the-art satellite technology, artificial intelligence [AI] and big data, it improves mitigation strategies, response and information dissemination plans,” MRC said.

An Pich Hatda, CEO of the MRC secretariat, said: “Climate change necessitates that countries prioritise, scale up their response mechanisms and take advantage of cutting-edge technologies to facilitate more effective action in responding to these hazards.”

According to the MRC’s policy report, they recommend developing map-based flood and drought monitoring systems by analysing areas vulnerable to either or both.

These systems would use AI, radar and satellites as early-warning systems that incorporate built-in triggers to aid decision-making such as declaring flood or drought conditions.

“Additionally, these technologies can collect high-quality hydro-meteorological data for an integrated basin-wide flood and drought management strategy,” it said.