Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Mekong Institute (MI) Executive Director, was one of seven high-level officials who presented at the first Republic of Korea’s New Southern Policy Forum on Connectivity on June 22, 2021.
Hosted by the Mission of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN and the Embassy of Korea to Thailand, the Forum is part of a series of dialogues with GMS government officials, international development partners, and academics, who forwarded recommendations on enhancing connectivity among GMS and ASEAN countries, as well as synergizing the New Southern Policy Plus Strategy with development priorities of ASEAN and Mekong Cooperation Frameworks to effectively pursue common interests, including the promotion of economic recovery against a pandemic climate.
Drawing on the 25-year experience of MI as a long-standing intergovernmental organization that delivers socioeconomic development in the subregion, Mr. Suriyan underscored the vital element of fostering broad-based partnerships to fortify complementing efforts at the regional, national, and local levels in realizing ASEAN and ROK’s mutual aspiration towards a “People-Centered Community of Peace and Prosperity.”
"The rapid shift to a digital economy and the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, as well as the reorganization of supply and value chains, have highlighted the need for a more holistic and participatory approach to promote inclusive growth, so no one is left behind,” he said, explaining that increased investments in capacity building initiatives, solution-finding dialogues, and evidence-based studies in the GMS are essential to advance efforts towards public health; human resources development; increased cultural exchange; reciprocal and sustainable trade and investment; urban and rural infrastructure development; growth of future industries; and cooperation on non-traditional security issues.
In addition, Mr. Suriyan highlighted the need to focus on cross-border procedures and key regional economic corridors and to fast track the crafting and application of the Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance criteria and standards to revitalize economic activities and further broaden cross-country exchanges for deeper Mekong-Korea Partnership.