25 Years of Strengthening Development Synergies
In 2021, Mekong Institute (MI) will commemorate 25 years of dedicated service to the people of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).
A key player in the advancement of GMS development cooperation and integration, MI’s evolution reflects a sharpening of program strategies, expansion of portfolio of services, growing pool of partners, and operational advancement.
This progression was made possible with the support of over 40 government and international development partners, whose trust in MI’s work contributed to the delivery of strong project implementation, sound policy coherence, and dynamic development programming through capacity-building activities, evidence-based studies, and knowledge exchange platforms.
To date, MI’s efforts have established a network of over 51,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries, many of whom are making inroads in addressing food security, stimulating trade and investment facilitation, promoting climate resilience, and building connective power and energy. MI has also widened public-private sector linkages to shore collaborative commitment in managing transboundary issues such as social inclusion and vulnerability, digital economy and innovation, and labor mobility to cement holistic and sustainable development impacts.
In recognition of these milestones, MI will release a series of materials to spotlight achievements and lessons learned; honor pioneers, longstanding partners, and outstanding alumni. It will also deploy activities to highlight shared interests and broaden strategic public-private alliances in continued pursuit of broad-based collaboration so MI and its growing network of partners can truly deliver enduring and durable development in the subregion and beyond.
A Look Back to the Past
MI was formed from the vision of the Governments of Thailand and New Zealand and Khon Kaen University to create a regional training center that will support the formation of a resilient GMS. MI’s early capacity building initiatives helped government officials transition economies towards open and market-based systems to usher growth, productivity, and innovation for the improved well-being of people in the region.
As the subregion grew into a viable growth center of Asia, GMS governments established mechanisms for deeper integration, recognizing that regional cooperation was the foundation for harmonious development and common prosperity.
To help mobilize these aspirations, MI—appointed by GMS governments as an intergovernmental organization—accelerated synergies by strengthening skills, building research studies, and facilitating solution-finding dialogues at the regional, national, and local levels. These paved the way for policy reforms, institutional strengthening, infrastructure investments, and human resource development for lasting intra-country connectivity, stronger market competitiveness, and a deeper sense of community.
With MI’s reputation as a responsive and project-delivering vehicle gaining stride across countries, the intergovernmental organization fostered more constructive engagements as the fund manager of the Mekong-Korea Cooperation Special Fund and implementer of numerous projects under the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund, and other regional mechanisms.
These helped unite a variety of projects under a regional focus, streamline resources, and equip GMS governments and partners with innovative interventions to help produce more holistic solutions and impactful outcomes well beyond the boundary of singular projects.
It is from this trajectory that MI has magnified the scope and scale of its Strategic Plan 2021-2025. To help the GMS meet the evolving demands and complex trends of a highly competitive technologically advanced globalized market, MI has re-focused its comparative advantages in agricultural development and trade and investment facilitation, while redirecting its technical capital on helping balance economic growth with responsible climate management.
25 Years in Service to the GMS
To commemorate MI’s silver anniversary and its growing partnerships with institutions within and outside the GMS, a series of materials and activities will be rolled out from May to December 2021.
MI will host and engage in online forums, workshops, and webinars across the areas of agricultural development and commercialization; trade and investment facilitation; and sustainable energy and environment to identify, document, and disseminate lessons learned and best practices to help harmonize tailored socioeconomic strategies against a COVID-19 climate.
Consultation Meetings 2021
Understanding that demonstrative change is realized when development plans, strategies, and guidelines are coordinated, MI senior officials will meet with high-level representatives from GMS governments, international development organizations, regional organizations, the private sector, donors, and academic associations to spotlight complementarities among regional development frameworks and national agenda, as reflected in MI’s Strategic Plan 2021-2025.
Hybrid Mekong Forum 2021
Carrying on the tradition that started in 2011 of convening prime movers to discuss solution-finding methods and to expand public-private engagement in addressing shared opportunities and challenges, MI will host a hybrid activity to highlight the merits of city nodes in optimizing economic corridors. This will include discussions on how to strengthen infrastructure linkages, facilitate efficient cross-border trade, and promote the sustainable use of shared natural resources for a more inclusive and competitive GMS economy.
Governing Board Meetings 2021
Held bi-annually, this year’s Governing Board Meetings will feature a comprehensive reporting of MI’s 25 years of work to the Governments of Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as other key partners such as the New Zealand Aid Programme, Asian Development Bank, Khon Kaen University, and Hue University.
Development Partners’ Meeting
Faithful to the premise that achieving socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation in the GMS rests on partnerships, MI will bridge government and non-government linkages to effectively pool resources, technical know-how, and management expertise to cohesively address the region's development priorities in the next five years.
25th Anniversary Event
In recognition of a quarter of a century of service, MI will organize a hybrid event to honor MI’s milestones, history, pioneers, and outstanding alumni.
Book of Narratives: 25 Years of Deepening Synergies
The book will be the first detailed history of MI. The 25 essays will illustrate MI’s genesis, growth, and contributions from the perspective of 25 selected people ranging from GMS government officials, MI Council and Steering Committee Chairs, international development partners, project beneficiaries, MI alumni and staff.
MI Video: Celebrating 25 Years of Partnership
Other than MI’s evolution, the video will feature testaments from GMS government officials, policy makers, and supporters on MI’s contributions in the GMS, as well as intergovernmental organization’s development strategies from 2021 to 2025.