On 28 June 2022, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)’s Regional Office for Asia-Pacific and the Mekong River Commission Secretariat (MRCS) convened the First Stakeholder Consultative Forum in Bangkok, Thailand. The event was the first regional meeting under 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.
The First Stakeholder Consultative Forum was intended to deepen the participating Member States’ understanding of the project including the WEF Nexus concept. The Stakeholder Forum followed the discussions between the Project Management and the National Mekong Committees during which a number of questions were posed relating to the proposed project’s approach, direction, and pilot site selection criteria. 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 including selection of tentative national pilot sites. They subsequently presented preliminary choices and way forward including consultations in their respective countries before the final decisions are made on the pilot sites.
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 in their capacity as implementing parties under the P-LINK.
Dr. Anoulak Kittikhoun, MRCS Chief Executive Officer underscored the importance of working together with development actors beyond the water sector to re-orient the WEF Nexus approach in the Mekong context aligned with the MRC Basin Development Strategy (BDS) 2021-20230, specifically to “Enhance optimal and sustainable development by increasing regional benefits and decreasing regional costs”.
The meeting participants also acknowledged that a Multi-Sectoral Platform (MSP) could facilitate the regional, national and local stakeholders to discuss the balancing of water, energy and food management and promote integrated policy making. This would provide greater ownership, accountability and sustainability of the initiatives under the P-LINK.
Meeting participants expressed the need to exchange knowledge and experiences between communities in each country and between countries themselves. They strongly advocated for a regional perspective in project implementation.
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 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.