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Mekong Forum 2017 Proceedings
Structured Learning Visit (SLV) and Business Matching in Thailand
Southern Economic Corridor,
SOUTHERN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR (SEC)
Synthesis and Evaluation (S&E) Workshop
Southern Economic Corridor,
SOUTHERN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR (SEC)
Enhancing Competitiveness of SMEs in the SEC of ASEAN Mekong Subregion Dissemination Workshop Report
SOUTHERN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR (SEC),
Mekong Forum 2015 Proceedings
Written by Mekong Institute
The Mekong Forum is an initiative of Mekong Institute, an inter-governmental organization in the Great Mekong Sub-region (GMS).
The Mekong Forum:
- Brings together opinion leaders to discuss the most pressing issues facing the GMS;
- Is known for its July biennial gathering in Khon Kaen, a city in the northeast of Thailand;
- Is an integrated platform engaging business, academic and other leaders in collaborative efforts to shape the development agenda in the GMS;
- Is now being used by leaders, international organizations and scholars as a neutral platform to exchange ideas and build networks across the GMS;
By the end of 2015, the ASEAN nations will embark on a new phase of development – the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Once the AEC blueprint is fully implemented, ASEAN will become a prosperous economic community with freer movement of goods, trade, services, investment, and skilled labor. Despite the promising opportunities, AEC also poses many challenges.
To address these challenges, the 2015 Mekong Forum brought together senior policy makers, business and civic leaders, academics, and development practitioners from throughout the region to discuss and shape the agenda for developing and modernizing the GMS. Participants shared success stories, lessons learned and innovative ideas on modernizing both the public and private sectors as part of the development process in the GMS, and sought to identify areas of collaboration that will synergize development within the GMS and in ASEAN integration and other cooperation frameworks.
The 2015 Forum focused on three main topics:
- Adopting New Technology and Innovation for Enhancing GMS Competitiveness in the Global Market
- International Agreements and Policy Tools for Supporting the GMS Development Process
Addressing Institutional Challenges and Opportunities for the Next Leap of the GMS
Participants addressed the need in the GMS for a comprehensive, broad-based process of modernization, particularly in regard to agriculture, technology and logistics. They also discussed policy recommendations for the GMS governments to modernize the GMS towards the post-AEC 2015, focusing on the appropriate policy initiatives to support the development process in GMS countries as well as ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate any negative consequences of development and disparities within and between GMS countries.
The ideas and information presented at the 2015 Forum will help Mekong Institute design its projects and future research plans with the aim of promoting public and private sector cooperation for regional integration.
Mekong Forum 2013
MINZAS Roundtable Meeting (Mekong Institute Institute-New Zealand Ambassador's Scholarship)
Written by Mekong Institute
The two-day Roundtable Meeting marks the end of Phase 3 of the Mekong Institute – New Zealand Ambassador Scholarship (MINZAS) Program. MINZAS is a collaborative program between the Mekong Institute and the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok aiming to provide professional development opportunities for master's degree students from CLMT countries through a structured training program and research assignment under the guidance of experienced regional and international experts. An important part of the scholarship program is to provide the scholars a training course on Research Methodology.
The training course on Research Methodology was held from March 4 – 28, 2013 at the MI Residential Center in Khon Kaen Province, Northeast of Thailand. At the end of the four-week training course, the participants developed a research proposal that incorporated the knowledge and skills acquired during the training. The proposal was to be conducted upon their return to each of their respective countries based on the agreed methodology and timeframe.
The twelve research proposals are: (1) The Effects of Rice Contract Farming on Smallholder Farmers' Incomes in Cambodia: A Case Study in Toul Sala Commune in Barsedth District, Kampong Spue Province, (2) Factors Contributing to the Success of Agricultural Cooperative Farms, Case Study: Ye-Nant-Tha Agricultural Co-operative Farm, Mataya Township, Mandalay Region, Myanmar, (3) Analysis of Pomelo Value Chains in the Yangon Region, Myanmar, (4) Value Chain Analysis of Mandarins in Selected Areas of Myanmar, (5) Rice Value Chain in S'ang District, Kandal Province, Cambodia, (6) Value Chain Analysis of Sesame in Magway Township, Myanmar, (7) Rural Household Vulnerability Assessment Study to Climate Variability: The Case of Peang Lvea Commune, Odongk District, Kampong Spue Province, Cambodia, (8) Financial Development, Trade Openness and Economic Growth in the CLV Countries, (9) The Effects of Trade Liberalization on Myanmar's Foreign Trade with Selected Asian Countries, (10) Impact of FDI on the Economic Growth of Lao PDR, (11) The Impact of Household Savings on the Development of Rural Livelihood: Evidence from Luang Prabang, Northern Laos; and (12) Business Development and Market Expansion of Women Entrepreneurs: Case Study of SMEs Community in Chiang Rai Province.
The MINZAS Roundtable Meeting provided a platform for the scholars to present and share the research results. The meeting also created a platform for deliberation of the results and validated the findings among experts. Two subject matter experts were invited to present an overview on the research topics in the context of the GMS. Home advisors of the twelve students were also invited to provide comments and feedbacks for further improvement of the research reports.
MINZAS Roundtable Meeting
Written by Mekong Institute
The two-day Roundtable Meeting marks the end of the Phase 3 of the Mekong Institute New Zealand Ambassador Scholarship (MINZAS) Program. MINZAS is a collaborative program between the Mekong Institute and the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok aiming to provide professional development opportunities for masters degree students from CLMT countries through a structured training program and research assignment under the guidance of experienced regional and international experts. An important part of the scholarship program is to provide the scholars a training course on Research Methodology.
The training course on Research Methodology was held from February 02 29, 2012 at the MI Residential Center in Khon Kaen Province, Northeast of Thailand. At the end of the four-week training course, the participants developed a research proposal that incorporated the knowledge and skills acquired during the training. The proposal was to be conducted upon their return to each of their respective countries based on the agreed methodology and timeframe. The twelve research proposals are (1) The Study of Cross border Myanmar Migrant Workers Labor Market: Policy Implications for Labor Management in Chiangrai City, Chiangrai Province, Thailand; (2) Response of Lao Government to Chinese Investments in Service Sector in Namtha District, Luang Namtha Province, Lao PDR; (3) Impacts of Chinese, Outward Investments on Agricultural Transformation and Rural Development: Evidence from Oudomxay, Northern Laos; (4) Factor Affecting Trade between Laos and Principal Trade Partners; (5) Impact of Increasing Trade on North-South Economic Corridor on Hmongs Ethnic Way of Life in Chiangkhong District, Chiangrai Province, Thailand; (6) Impact of Border Closure on Local Economic Border Communities: A Case Study of Chong Chom Checkpoint, Kap Choeng District, Surin Province; (7) Identification of Underutilized Crops in Mondulkiri Province with Emphasis on Socio-Economic Aspect (Case study in two communes, Mondulkiri Province); (8) Socio-economic Impacts of Community-Based Natural Resource Management in Siem Reap Province; (9) Peoples Participation in Community-Based Natural Resources Management in Prek Tnout Community Protected Area, Kampot Province, Cambodia; (10) The Economic Impact of Adopting Good Agricultural Practices in Mango Production on Farmers in Sagaing Region; (11) Does Microfinance Reduce Poverty in Lao PDR Case Study: Soukhoumar District Champassak Province, Lao PDR; and (12) Beliefs and Rituals of Khwan in Tai Khoen Community in Kyaing Tong, Shan State, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
The MINZAS Roundtable Meeting provided a platform for the scholars to present and share the research results. The meeting also created a platform for deliberation of the results and validated the findings among experts. Three subject matter experts were invited to present an overview on the research topics in the context of the GMS. Home advisors of the twelve students were also invited to provide comments and feedbacks for further improvement of the research reports.
Water Energy Development and Environmental Protection in the GMS
Written by Mekong Institute
The GMS has arrived at a crossroads in meeting the needs and keeping the balances whereas hydropower presents great economic and energy gains, at the same time, concerns have intensified over the potential cumulative impacts the proposed schemes have on the environment and the peoples livelihoods in the Mekong Basin
In response to this dynamic situation, the Mekong Institute had the pleasure of organizing a regional seminar sponsored by the Government of P.R. China and hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia on Water Energy and Environmental Protection in the GMS Meeting the Needs andKeeping the Ecological Balance held from March 21-23, 2012, in Cambodiana Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The seminar focused on promoting regional cooperation for sustainable management oft he growing number of hydropower projects in the region. It included detailed discussions and presentations on regional experiences, developing regional technical knowledge and sharing best practices relevant to all stages of planning and implementation.
The seminar was attended by over 70 representatives from state agencies, private enterprises and civil society from across the GMS and beyond who are directly involved in sustainable hydropower and environmental protection in the GMS. The three-day event was organized in three parts. Day one provided an overview on sustainable
hydropower development featuring presentations on Cambodias current status and issues an exemplary sustainable hydropower plant in China, and an overview of the importance of hydropower in the context of the GMS. Day two gave experts from each GMS country the opportunity to update everyone on each countrys current water energy statuses, sharing lessons learned and best practices in the aspect of hydropower development. That same day, a courtesy call was made to H.E. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, and was followed by a dinner cruise along the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. On the third day, three discussion groups were formed to deliberate on three top priority issues concerning South-South Cooperation:
(1) Regional WaterEnergy and Power Interconnection,
(2) Subregional Environmental Protection, and
(3) Setting-Up Regional Water Energy Networks in the GMS. The first group deliberated on power interconnection issues, and found that the main issues are: the lack of coordination between sectors and countries, environmental concerns to be considered, negotiation imbalances, and the absence of a master plan for all countries to adhere to. The recommendations included putting-up environmental protection guidelines and information-sharing
Proceedings of the Water Energy Development and Environmental Protection in the Greater Mekong Subregion
A Regional Seminar with the theme: Meeting the Needs and Keeping the Ecological Balance mechanisms, setting-up a regional regulatory framework on negotiation, and for the Mekong Countries to develop a master plan jointly.
The second group raised the following issues in subregional environmental protection: the lack in researches and studies on the environment as well as the dissemination thereof, the need for strong commitment from investors to improve or provide sustainable livelihood, and the lack of a regional legal framework among countries that are affected. To these issues, they recommended that the governments should take the leading role in research and the dissemination thereof, strengthen the environmental monitoring system, develop a regional legal agreement on benefit-sharing, and develop a Regional Environmental Fund.
The third group was tasked to identify, if a regional network would be set-up, who it shall comprise of, what their roles would be and what possible engagements or activities they could set forth. With this, they have identified that the new task force or network should comprise of: various officials from the GMS and its working groups, organizations like the MRC and MI, the private sector, academe and development partners, as well as a presence from ASEAN economic/ socio-cultural agencies. Their roles would be to coordinate, mobilize funds, plan & monitor, negotiate, transfer or disseminate information and support policy makers with activities ranging from database development, meetings and seminars, researches, capacity-building activities and many others.
In summary, all three priorities discussed pointed to the same needs:
(1) a regional platform or body for discussion and collaboration;
(2) a regional framework or master plan that takes into account the different countries needs and concerns and (3) a regional information/data sharing mechanism toconnect and update all stakeholders on matters of importance and relevance in the development of sustainable hydropower.
The seminar resulted in a number of significant outcomes including:
A heightened and updated understanding on the issues, challenges and needs concerning hydropower in the different countries in the GMS
A shared understanding that a common platform, or framework for the Mekong Mainstream is needed in order to protect and balance the various needs of the upstream and the downstream countries
An increased awareness on the benefits, importance and underlying opportunities in South-South Cooperation
Recognition that a wide range of stakeholders need to be involved in all stages of the process, from development to implementation
With this, the Mekong Institute pledges to disseminate the results of the seminar to all participants, sponsoring and host governments, and aims to work with partnering organizations and interested Southern donors to develop proposals to implement the recommended actions garnered from the seminar. MI will also communicate back to all participants on the approved projects their recommendations helped put forth.
Multi-Stakeholders' Consultative Meeting on the Mekong-Rok Comprehensive Partnership for Mutual Prosperity
Trade and Investment Facilitation,
Written by Mekong Institute
Regional cooperation and integration is making headway and the Mekong Region is rapidly moving towards a new operating environment. The Mekong countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) are part of several cooperation frameworks, notably ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), and the Ayeyawady Chao Phraya Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). The setting up of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 20I5 will establish ASEAN as a single market and production base with a free flow of goods, services and skilled labor. Simultaneously, ASEAN has liberalized trade and investment and integration among ASEAN under AFTA. This has resulted in the implementation of The Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) system which reduces Tariff rates of all imported goods between ASEAN members to zero (2010 for the six old members 2015 for the four new members). ASEAN has also liberalized its trade and investment with China, Korea and Japan (ASEAN + 3) and then with India, New Zealand and Australia (ASEAN + 6). AEC as well as AFTA are envisaged to address development disparities and to accelerate the integration of the new ASEAN members, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam, into the regional community.
In 2010, the Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM) has agreed on the importance of close cooperation among donors and the Mekong Countries to enhance effectiveness, mobilize resources, and promote synergy of regional assistance programs aimed at supporting inclusive, sustainable, and environmentallyresponsible growth. They noted the importance of effectively managing sustainable and equitable development in the Mekong region and discussed challenges affecting these countries in a variety of sectors, including the environment, public health, social development, livelihood, food security, education, and infrastructure. With this, they acknowledged the importance of conducting assistance programs in the Mekong Region in a transparent manner and agreed to continue discussion to develop a sustainable and effective cooperation mechanism among parties.
1. HanRiver Declaration of Establishing the MekongROK Comprehensive Partnership for Mutual Prosperity The Republic of Korea (ROK) has long been providing Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) in the Mekong Region. With its plan to double its ODA in the region by 2015, ROK wants to contribute in Mekong Countries in areas where it can have the greatest impact, preventing duplicity and ineffectiveness in its regional efforts, and underlining the importance of local ownership in these efforts.
In October 2011, ROK hosted the first Foreign Ministers Meeting between ROK and the five Mekong Countries in Seoul and all six Governments have agreed to set forth The MekongROK Comprehensive Partnership for Mutual Prosperity(the Partnership) with the following objectives: We shared the view that the Partnership should aim to promote friendship and cooperation between the Mekong region countries and the ROK in a wide range of areas,and thereby:
deepen the ASEANROK Strategic Partnership established at the I3th ASEANROK Summit held in October 20I0, Hanoi, Viet Nam
contribute to sustainable development of the Mekong region
narrow the development gap within ASEAN, accelerate the ASEAN integration and expedite the process of ASEAN Community building scheduled for the year 20I5
enhance regional cooperation and community building in East Asia with ASEAN playing a driving force1To move forward, the Foreign Ministers Meeting has tasked the Senior Officials to come up with plan of action to implement the vision set forth in the Declaration.