Institutional design of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation

ZHU Jiejin1 Hayati NUFUS2

(1.School of International Relations & Public Affairs, Fudan University)
(2.Department of International Political Studies, Indonesian Institute of Sciences)

【Abstract】Why was Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) created when there were over ten international institutions already in the Mekong sub-region? Most researchers have paid attention to the geopolitical background of the initiative and institutional competition among great powers. This paper focuses on the new institutional features of the LMC. Compared with the existing international institutions such as the Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperation (GMS), the LMC has two new institutional features: wider issue scope and a higher level of centralization. Besides regional economic cooperation issues, the LMC also put regional security cooperation and water resources cooperation issues on its agenda. Meanwhile, the LMC is a leader-driven institution with various departments being participants and is working hard to build its independent international secretariat, whereas the GMS serves only as a functional department-led institution and uses the ADB as its secretariat. Applying the theory of rational design of international institutions, this paper argues that the increasingly prominent distribution problem and enforcement problem in the international cooperation in the Mekong sub-region has led to the establishment of the LMC with new institutional features.

【Keywords】 Lancang-Mekong Cooperation; Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperation; regional security cooperation; water resources cooperation; issue scope; level of centralization; rational design theory;

【DOI】

【Funds】 Shanghai Pujiang Talent Program (2019PJC020)

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(Translated by CHEN Man)

    Footnote

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This Article

ISSN:1003-3386

CN: 11-5370/D

Vol 37, No. 03, Pages 45-68+5-6

May 2020

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Literature review
  • 3 New institutional features of the LMC: a comparison with the GMS
  • 4 Distribution and the level of centralization of the LMC
  • 5 Enforcement and the level of centralization of the LMC
  • 6 Conclusion
  • Footnote