Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) government leaders, as well as international development partners concurred with Mekong Institute’s (MI) efforts to broaden public-private engagements for the further alignment of COVID-19 recovery efforts at the online Steering Committee and Council Meetings on August 26 and 27, 2021.
“Stronger engagement focusing on people-centered development will safeguard the well-being of our people,” H.E. Mr. Cui Moahu, Vice Governor of the People’s Government of Yunnan Province, P.R. China and newly-appointed MI Council Chair, stated, after receiving MI’s six-month performance report.
MI’s 2021 activities has been contributing to “build forward better” strategies, as reflected by the intergovernmental organization’s ongoing support of small- and medium-sized enterprises for their better adaption to e-commerce practices, its preparation of the local tourism sector to internalize smart technologies, and release of research studies that underscore GMS-tailored interventions in food security, digitalization, and cross-border management.
These program deliveries, which are being implemented alongside MI’s ongoing portfolio on food safety, trade and investment facilitation, sustainable energy and environment, are aligned with prevailing regional cooperation priorities and policy directions.
Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, MI Steering Committee Chairman, also observed MI’s efforts in deepening collaboration with GMS agencies and international partners to contribute to the narrowing of development gaps, particularly in the area of digital connectivity to help revive local businesses and limit people-to-people contact among those engaged in cross-border trade.
Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, MI Executive Director, explained that continued partnership-building activities will be reinforced, as MI secured eight new partners to implement 10 projects in the coming months.
In addition to program performance reporting, Governing Board members, who hold seats in the Steering Committee and Council, have also recommended the extension of MI’s 25th anniversary campaign, given that key events, such as the Development Partners’ Meeting, were placed on hold due to the pandemic. The updated timeline of August 28, 2021 to August 27, 2022 will allow MI to meet targets of partnership building, networking, and advocacy of GMS interests.
Members of the Governing Board comprising government officials from Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as officials from the Asian Development Bank, New Zealand Aid Programme, Khon Kaen University, and Hue University, will reconvene in December 2021 to review MI’s commitments and assess deliveries completed in the final half of the year.