On 31 August 2023 the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and the Mekong River Commission Secretariat (MRCS) convened the Second Stakeholder Consultative Forum in Bangkok, Thailand. The event was held as part of the “Triangular Cooperation Project on Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong Basin based on the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus,” which is also known as the RoK-UNOSSC Facility Phase 3 or P-LINK.
Participants of the Second Regional Stakeholder Forum – 31 August 2023
More than 40 delegates including government representatives from the four participating member countries – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam – joined the meeting. Participants were drawn from respective National Mekong Committees, and line ministries responsible for water, energy and food management as well as science and innovation. Representatives from the Mekong Institute (MI) and the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) attended the event.
Ms. Dima Al-Khatib, UNOSSC Director, underscored the importance of operationalizing the technical customized solutions based on the WEF Nexus to improve the livelihoods of the targeted communities. To ensure sustainability of the solutions as well as their scalability within the respective national contexts, she requested MRC Member Countries’ active engagement and commitment to the project in guiding the Project Team. She emphasized that the successful outcomes of this project will represent a model for other Global South countries.
The Stakeholder Consultative Forum serves as a mechanism to ensure full participation of the MRC Member Countries, and to promote ownership and leadership in line with South-South and triangular cooperation (SS & TrC) approaches. The Second Stakeholder Forum finetuned the design of national technology pilots based on the WEF Nexus to be rolled out in Q4 2023.
The Stakeholder Forum followed national consultations, and visits to proposed sites by the Project Team and the National Mekong Committees, beginning in September 2022. The Forum provided an opportunity for MRC Member Countries and the Project Team to present the proposed national pilot design, to engage stakeholders, link to the Basin Development Strategy, and provide guidance on next steps for implementation. The discussions also constituted knowledge and experience sharing among the Lower Mekong Basin countries. After the responses and clarifications on the questions raised by participants, the national delegates deliberated on the way forward to kick-off national pilots including the national approval process and feasibility requirements.
Dr. Anoulak Kittikhoun, MRCS Chief Executive Officer, underscored the importance of selecting the right country-driven project and technology for solutions to make a difference on the ground and to have broader impact in the Mekong countries and the region.
The Forum facilitated development of a joint work plan, and each country delegation indicated their national development priorities and proposed possible pilot sites. Countries demonstrated national ownership and accountability in design and implementation of pilots in the countries.
The geographic locations and technical focus areas of the four pilots are as follows:
- Cambodia: Improving Access to Clean Water and Increasing Food Security in Sdao Commune, Stung Treng through a solar power generated water treatment system
- Lao PDR: Local Flood Early Warning System (LFEWS) for Nakio Village, Khammoune Province
- Thailand: Increasing the Efficiency of Tap Water Systems in Moo (Villages) 1, 2 and 3 Bung Khla Sub-district, Bueng Kan Province through a smart water leakage management system
- Viet Nam: Improvement of Livelihoods through the Application of WEF Nexus Approach in the Mekong Delta (Co Linh Island, Ben Tre Province)
Cambodian delegation during country discussions
Laotian delegation during country discussions
Thai delegation during country discussions
Vietnamese delegation during country discussions
About the RoK-UNOSSC Facility Phase 3
The “Triangular Cooperation Project on Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong Basin based on the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus” (2021-2025) aims to strengthen access to water, food and energy for vulnerable communities living in the Lower Mekong Basin (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam) through strengthening development approaches and management in these sectors. It will take integrative and multi-sectoral approaches in application of highly demanded technologies on water, energy and food to improve the livelihoods of the people based on South-South and triangular cooperation modalities. The 5-year project is supported by the Ministry of Science and ICT, Republic of Korea; and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) leads the project in partnership with other institutions including the Mekong River Commission Secretariat (MRCS), Mekong Institute (MI) and the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI). Other relevant UN Agencies will contribute in implementation.