Following the launch of the Mekong-ROK partnership in 2011, the Mekong–Republic of Korea (ROK) Cooperation Fund (MRCF) was established in 2013 to encourage and support cooperation in six priority areas outlined in the Han River Declaration of 2011. It was agreed among 5 Mekong countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) and the ROK that the MRCF will be financed through an annual contribution from the ROK to the Mekong Institute (MI) and will be managed by MI in accordance with the Terms of Reference adopted at the 3rd Mekong ROK Foreign Ministers meeting in 2013. In addition, at the 5th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Kuala Lumpur in 2015, the Ministers recognized the need for a more efficient management of the MRCF and agreed to task the Mekong Institute to act as the Coordinator in collecting and circulating project proposals, disbursing funds, helping Senior Officials review and monitor the projects. In this regard, the Ministers endorsed the Concept Paper on the Revised Operation Method of the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund and adopted the Revised Operation Method of the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund as Annex to the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund Terms of Reference.
- The regional project meets the regional project criteria which includes relevance, ownership/commitment, sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency.
- The regional project provides a framework for sharing knowledge, experience and technology for networking and cooperation among the Mekong countries and for facilitating interaction at the regional level among the national institutions.
What are the target sectors?
Funding priority for the MRCF is targeted in six priority sectors namely Infrastructure, ICT, Human Resources Development, Green Growth, Water Resource Development, Agriculture and Rural Development.
Who is eligible for assistance from the MRCF?
- Non-governmental organizations/ private sector bodies (business association, cooperatives), academic institutions, and training institutes from CLMVT can submit requests for funding.
- Government agencies from CLMVT can submit requests for assistance.
- Individual assistance to persons is not provided.
What types of projects are eligible to receive funding?
The Fund provides grants to support catalytic and innovative activities in the six priority sectors- Infrastructure, ICT, Human Resources Development, Green Growth, Water Resource Development, Agriculture and Rural development. The proposal must:
- Be a development project with focus on specific developmental problems.
- Be innovative and unique.
- Be independently originated and developed by the applicant.
- The Fund provides grant for projects that are of regional nature i.e project that benefits more than one country e.g capacity development activities, research, action research, policy research that promotes regional cooperation among the Mekong countries.
- The fund provides grant for projects implemented in a country but has shared benefits among the Mekong countries e.g cross border economic development, natural resource management and sharing, institutional networking. Such project is aligned on the priorities of the country to address national issues that facilitate regional integration process.
- The fund provides grants for projects promoting 3 ways (triangular) or 4 ways (quadripartite) collaboration with other donors, including Japan, US, MRC etc. Extra budgetary funds should be leveraged, when needed, to facilitate such projects.
- The fund provides grants for Joint activities with a regional or international entity, formalized through a cooperation agreement and is considered as regional. In such case, the participation of the countries should be coordinated together with the entity co- organizing the activity.
- Activities which are not eligible for funding include construction of buildings and payment of rent or utilities.
- Capacity building on regional project management related to infrastructure (road, power, communication etc)
2. Information, Communication and Technology (ICT)
- Use of ICT for climate change adaptation,
- Crop production- estimation, forecasting
- Database development,
- Agriculture market information system,
- Developing alliances with Mekong countries on ICT infrastructure/ regionalconnectivity,
- Research & training on ICT
3. Human Resources Development: Capacity development projects on
- Promoting regional trade and investment
- Promoting regional cooperation in education and skills development
- Facilitating safe labor migration within the GMS
- Strengthening regional institutional linkage and mechanisms for regional cooperation
- Building Cooperative Alliance for Technical and Vocational Education and Training(TVET) / Career and Technical Education (CTE).
- Capacity building for SMEs and entrepreneurs to create job opportunity and facilitate successful trade and investment in the GMS region
- Developing competencies and standardization and training quality systems to promote skills mobility in GMS countries
- Promoting skill development and networking training providers in GMS region to bridge school to work and enhance labor productivity
4. Green Growth
- Sustainable Consumption and Production for Regional Climate Action
- Promotion of Green Industry for Green Growth
- Improving Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Development
- Promotion of international trade of green products and services
- Twin border town development for Green Growth
- Green Logistics
5. Water Resource Development
- Regional water resources development, planning and management
- Infrastructure development support
- Water governance
- Capacity building
6. Agriculture and Rural development
- Developing Agri-based products value chain
- Contract farming
- Trade Facilitation and Harmonization of Food Safety Standards
The minimum contribution of the Fund per project proposal is 200,000 USD and maximum of 500,000 USD per year.
The maximum time frame of a project is not more than 3 years and minimum of six months.
Required Application Documents
The applicant is required to submit following documents when applying for the MRCF:
- Mekong – ROK Project Proposal document
- Project proposal Indicative Work plan
- Explanation of Budget Estimates -> (Guidelines for Budget Estimates)
- TOR of the Key Project Contracted Personnel
Project proposal as per the prescribed proposal format may be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the applicant country by the deadline. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the applicant country will forward the proposal to Mekong Institute (MI). MI will review the proposal according to the project proposal guidelines. The shortlisted proposals will be sent to other Mekong countries and ROK for their approval.
The project proposal may be submitted to:
Mr. Sopharath Touch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Mr. Alomlangsy Rajvong
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR,
Mr. Nyein Zaw
Head of Branch-2, Third Secretary
Ms. Aimatcha Somsaman
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ms. Hoang Huyen Ngoc