Piloting Water-Food-Energy Nexus Technology Transfers for Enhanced Livelihoods in the Mekong Basin
Seoul, 2 February 2023 – The Second Steering Committee Meeting of the “Triangular Cooperation on Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong Basin based on the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus”, also known as the RoK-UNOSSC Facility (Phase 3)/P-LINK, was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea (RoK). The Steering Committee met to assess the project’s progress in 2022 and approve the planned activities for 2023. At the same time, the meeting facilitated the Steering Committee to lend advice to the project on issues that require key decision-making.
The hybrid event brought together the governing body of the project namely, the RoK’s the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), Mekong River Commission (MRC), the Mekong Institute (MI) and the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI). The meeting was co-chaired by Ms. Xiaojun Grace Wang, UNOSSC Director a.i. and Ms. Eunyoung Jang, Director of Multilateral Cooperation Division, International Cooperation Bureau, MSIT.
In the opening remarks, Ms. Jang highlighted that the “Water-Energy and Food (WEF) Nexus” was identified as one of the eight (8) pillars of technology and development at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) held in 2022. She wished the P-LINK to play a catalytic role in addressing climate change and supporting vulnerable communities in the Mekong River basin. She also advised the project to strive to create differentiated outputs from other similar initiatives carried by other development stakeholders in the region.
With reference to the alternative project name, “P-LINK”, an acronym for “People’s Livelihoods Initiative through water-energy-food Nexus in the Mekong Region”, the Ms. Wang reiterated the project vision and objectives, which is to enhance the livelihood of riparian communities, especially in contexts where appropriate technologies and innovations could be accessed to address the challenges faced by the communities. She also emphasized project activities should not just be considered as processes but as mechanisms to match the local needs with feasible solutions that the project could offer based on principles of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SS & TrC): solidarity, demand-driven, national ownership and accountability.
On behalf of Mrs. Nguyen Thi Thu Linh, MRC Joint Committee Chairperson for 2023 and the Project Steering Committee member representing LMB countries, Dr. Truong Hong Tien stressed the urgency of expediting the implementation progress in line with the given timeline indicated in the project document. Therefore, he encouraged the project to identify a feasible solution to accelerate the progress and kick of the national pilots to bring tangible outputs for the people in the four partner countries whose livelihoods have been affected by climate change.
The meeting proceeded with the reporting of the 2022 work progress by the Project Management and Implementing parties (MRC Secretariat, MI and STEPI). After each reporting, the Steering Committee had a thorough discussion and provided guidance to ensure efficient and effective project implementation.
The Project Management (UNOSSC) and three implementing parties, namely, MRC Secretariat, MI and STEPI reaffirmed their commitment and support to the project. The next Steering Committee meeting is scheduled to take place in early 2024 after the completion of the project mid-term evaluation.
About the RoK-UNOSSC Facility Phase 3
The “Triangular Cooperation Project on Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong River 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 UN 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) and will enlist the help of other UN Agencies.