On April 7, 2023, Mekong Institute (MI) organized an inception workshop to kick start the implementation of the project on “Capacity Building on Regional Project Design, Implementation, Monitoring & Evaluation of MKCF Projects” by providing stakeholders with the project rationale, expected outcome and activities, and seeking their cooperation. Over 80 participants made up of representatives from Mekong countries and the Republic of Korea (ROK), project implementing agencies (PIA) and the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF) management team at MI attended the online workshop.
Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of MI, underscored the shared ambition of MI and the MKCF in accelerating socioeconomic development, alleviating poverty, and fostering regional cooperation in the Mekong region. Explaining the fund’s requirements, he said: “The fund provides a grant for projects that are regional in nature or provide benefits to more than one country in the Mekong region.” He added that MI is proud to implement this regional project in addition to already assuming the role of the MKCF coordinator.
Articulating the commitment from the ROK, Ms. Kyung-hwa Chung, Director of Southeast Asia Division II, ROK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated: “Over the last decade, the relations between ROK and the five Mekong countries have been strengthened, resulting in robust ties. Through the MKCF, we look forward to working closely to spearhead sustainable development of the region.” She added that monitoring of the MKCF projects is timely and crucial to ensure effective project implementation, maximize impacts as well as improve the overall fund management.
Outlining the rationale of the project, Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) Department Director and MKCF Coordinator, said: “Despite the great achievements of the MKCF projects, it has been noted that there is room to improve in terms of designing and implementing some joint activities and networking among the organizations. To overcome this stumbling block and enhance cooperation and integration, the project concept was conceived. Our aim is to enhance institutional capacities of project managers and personnel for the whole project cycle with systematic monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The activities run from January 2023 – January 2026.”
Follow-up actions to be taken by the project team include updating the workplan, developing initial design and function of the M&E system and communication portal, and identifying capacity building needs.