Over 60 representatives from 6 GMS member countries, international organizations, development partners and civil society gathered in Kunming city, Yunnan Province of P.R. China on 12 July to shape the future of the Mekong Institute.
Mandated by the MI Council, the Secretariat adopted a participatory approach and conducted extensive consultations in the 6 GMS countries to solicit input on the strategic plan. The plan, which covers 2011-2015, is built on a broad vision and charts an ambitious path through the next five years by identifying goals, objectives and strategies in the thematic areas of trade and investment facilitation, transnational rural development and human migration.
The regional consultation meeting was hosted by the Yunnan Provincial Government to deliberate on MI strategic focus and discuss concrete implementation strategies. In her welcome remarks, Ms. Zhou Hong, Director-general of Foreign Affairs Office of the Yunnan Provincial Government, commended MIs successful transformation into an Inter-governmental Organization under the chairmanship of China, and expressed appreciation on MIs contribution to GMS development. She called for more support to MI, and hoped MI can keep up its capacity building programs, and work hard to live up to the expectation of all countries, peoples and development partners.
Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, Chairman of the Board of MFC Asset Management and MI Steering Committee, reviewed regional cooperation from a historical perspective. He recounted the warring and peace-making throughout the years in the region, and the significance of the genesis of GMS as a complement to a greater ASEAN vision. He urged the participants to help fulfill the vision of GMS, and help MI to play an HRD role in that fulfillment.
Another dignitary participating in the meeting, H.E. Kyoji Komachi, Ambassador of Japan to Thailand, gave a keynote speech on promoting development cooperation through human resources development in the GMS in the meeting. He reiterated Japans priority on the Mekong Region as enshrined in the Tokyo Declaration and Mekong-Japan Action Plan 63, and its contribution on East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) and Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) to enhance regional connectivity. H.E. Komachi took the opportunity to announce Japans decision to support MIs program on trade and investment promotion through capacity development of local chambers of commerce along EWEC. He believed that MI can play a unique role in boosting economic activities of local business.
Following the keynote speeches, Ms. Joy Ogan, MI Strategic Planning Consultant, and Dr. Suchat Katima, MI Director, presented the findings of the national consultations and the strategic plan respectively. Under the new plan, MI envisages to build up a critical mass of competent HRD practitioners by enhancing local partner abilities, and facilitate the development of policies that promote GMS cooperation and development. It also aspires to become a well-known, financially sustainable GMS learning center. Participants to the meeting deliberated on the draft goals and strategies and help refining the strategic focus for the next 5-year.
Two panel discussions on trade and rural development were held subsequently to galvanize interest and commitment of stakeholders to MI programs, and brainstorm on solid implementation strategies to help realizing the plan. Participants reaffirmed MIs thematic areas and modalities but raised the new priority on climate change and ecological protection. They also gave valuable suggestions on partnership and resource mobilization.
MI Secretariat will consolidate the discussion and fine-tune the plan as appropriate. The plan will be finalized in the latter half of 2010 and put into operation from January 2011 onwards.
MI Regional Consultation Meeting in Kunming, Yunnan Province, P.R. China on 12 July 2010.
Ms. Zhou Hong, Director-general of Foreign Affairs Office of the Yunnan Provincial Government, delivered the Welcome Remarks.
Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, Chairman of the Board of MFC Asset Management and MI Steering Committee,
discussed the GMS and ASEAN perspectives.
H.E. Kyoji Komachi, Ambassador of Japan to Thailand,
spoke on Promoting development cooperation through human resources development in the GMS.
Panel discussion on implementation strategies.