Mekong Institute (MI), in collaboration with the Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD) and with support from the People's Government of the People's Republic of China, organized a half-day webinar on March 28, 2023. The event aimed to exchange knowledge and ideas for a better understanding of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and explore the strategies, interventions, and approaches towards synergizing the GDI and Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Action Plans.
The event commenced with welcome remarks from Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of MI. He emphasized the significant opportunities to integrate the GDI with well-established regional cooperation frameworks, such as the LMC. Since the GDI and LMC action plans have different comparative advantages, we can use these advantages by translating aspirations and public knowledge into practical action at the regional cooperation level, he noted.
Mr. Ke Yousheng, Permanent Representative of China to UNESCAP and MI Steering Committee Member for China, stated in his opening remarks that “Mekong River countries are natural partners and beneficiaries of the implementation of the GDI, which can boost development in the subregion. We look forward to working together to build the subregion into a pioneer for GDI implementation, bringing more benefits to the people and injecting impetus into regional development.”
During his keynote speech, Dr. Zhao Changwen, President of CIKD, presented the concept of GDI and its current progress. He shared figures and facts that helped participants gain a better understanding of the topic.
Over 50 participants, including development experts, distinguished delegates from the Lancang-Mekong (LM) countries, opinion leaders, and government officials, participated in the webinar. In addition, almost 300 people viewed the event via live-streaming on Facebook.
The webinar was structured into two panel discussions. The first focused on synergizing the GDI implementation and LMC. The discussion explored the building of synergies between GDI and LMC for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Additionally, the panelists discussed the progress of the LMC mechanism and provided suggestions for forging synergy. The second discussion was about regional collaboration partnerships. The session featured representatives from LM countries who shared their current projects and initiatives related to the GDI. Experts from China also discussed how knowledge-sharing network building could help to promote cooperation among LM countries under the new 5-year plan with a better synergy of sustainable security and sustainable development agendas. Another panelist talked about poverty reduction and social policies.
As a way forward, MI plans to use this webinar as a platform for expanding project cooperation and sharing development knowledge and experience. We aim to drive progress in the eight priority areas of the GDI and foster partnerships and collaborations across governments and multi-sectoral groups for sustainable development.