The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) represented by Dr. Robert J. Mather, Head of Southeast Asia Group revisited Mekong Institute on November 5, 2013. On behalf of MI, Dr. Tej Bunnag, Honorary Advisor to MI and Dr. Jacqueline Parisi, the Deputy Director, welcomed him along with other members of the staff. The purpose of his visit was to explore on how MI and IUCN can work together in accomplishing their common goals for the greater good of the Greater Mekong Subregion.
IUCN already has a number of continuing initiatives in the GMS countries as presented by Dr. Mather. They have particularly focused on the Lower Mekong Countries but they are also starting to expand towards Myanmar and China. They work with the national and local government agencies as well as civil societies, working on important development sectors including water and climate change. The IUCN boasts of having many pilot activities/demonstration sites in different provinces of the countries as well as having a body of solid experience and effective results in linking field activities to national policy development, particularly in the water and climate change sectors.
IUCN recognizes the important role that the Mekong Institute plays in capacity building of government officers in the GMS. Dr. Mather expounds that the purpose of this visit was to explore areas of potential collaboration such as field project sites as field learning opportunities as part of training courses and the sharing of experiences, lessons learned, and policy recommendations.
After a brief presentation by MI, the meeting concluded shortly after due to time constraints. Despite the brief amount of time, the meeting was productive and a follow-up meeting was suggested to have further brainstorming on what strategies and in which areas for future collaboration.