Mekong Forum 2024

July 31, - August 2, 2024 | Khon Kaen, Thailand

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)’s diverse economies are increasingly recognizing the transformative potential of digitalization, innovation, and technology (DIT) across key sectors such as agriculture, trade, energy, and the environment. As countries strive towards sustainable growth, a digital and technological revolution is inevitable. This revolution promises to redefine the region’s socio-economic landscape, driving sustainable development and inclusive growth. However, realizing this promise requires a strategic approach to harnessing the transformative power of DIT as fuel for meaningful change.

The Mekong Forum, Mekong Institute (MI)’s annual flagship event, is a comprehensive and multidimensional platform highlighting opportunities across the subregion’s key sectors, such as food and agriculture, trade, logistics, energy, environment, innovation, and social inclusion. It is a holistic and inclusive conference, engaging participants from various sectors, including government officials, industry leaders, academics, non-governmental organizations, and community representatives. By bringing together these diverse voices, the forum aims to foster rich dialogues, share innovative practices, and cultivate partnerships that drive sustainable development and regional integration. Emphasizing an all-encompassing approach, the forum facilitates a unique space for cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration, encouraging participants to explore synergies, address shared challenges, and leverage collective expertise to advance the GMS development agenda.

This year, the Mekong Forum is envisioned as a catalyst for developing a comprehensive innovation strategy for the GMS and setting a unified direction for the Mekong’s digital future. With the theme “Digital Horizons: Scaling up Digitalization, Innovation, and Technology in the GMS,” it will harmonize efforts across the subregion by aligning with broader regional frameworks such as the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030), the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, and the Global Development Initiative (GDI). These frameworks emphasize the importance of digital integration and connectivity as pillars for economic progress and resilience, offering a blueprint for the Mekong countries to navigate their digital transformation journey.

By integrating the principles and strategic directions outlined in these regional frameworks, the forum seeks to ensure that the Mekong’s approach to DIT is forward-looking and cohesive with the broader Southeast Asian region’s aspirations. This alignment is crucial for championing a digital ecosystem that is robust, inclusive, and capable of transcending borders, thereby enhancing regional integration and competitiveness in the areas of agriculture, trade, energy, and environment. Moreover, the forum will explore how digital and technological advancements can be leveraged to address the subregion’s unique challenges and opportunities. This includes bridging digital divides, cultivating a vibrant innovation ecosystem, and promoting sustainable development.

The plenary session is the cornerstone of the Forum, providing a comprehensive overview of Digital and Information Technology (DIT) across the GMS. It examines the current landscape, opportunities, and challenges of DIT adoption in Mekong countries. Featuring country-specific presentations, it aims to showcase diverse approaches to enhance learning, capacity building, and innovation amidst the digital revolution. The dialogue focuses on national strategies, success stories, and collaborative strategies to overcome barriers to digitalization through cross-border cooperation and shared learning.

  1. Showcase and Enhance Cross-Sectoral Integration. Highlight the profile of the subregion’s DIT in agriculture, trade, energy, and the environment while promoting the synergies between these sectors.
  2. Facilitate Knowledge Exchange and Sharing of Best Practices. Establish the forum as a multistakeholder platform for exchanging insights, experiences, and effective practices in DIT to enhance learning and adaptation in the GMS.
  3. Formulate Actionable Strategies for Inclusive DIT. Identify actionable strategies and initiatives to bolster the DIT ecosystems across the GMS, specifically addressing the digital divide to foster inclusive growth and social equity.
  4. Craft Policy Recommendations for Holistic Digital Integration. Develop policy recommendations that facilitate and support comprehensive digital integration across key sectors, including agriculture, trade, energy, and environment, ensuring sustainability at its core.
  5. Enhance Regional and International Collaboration. Strengthen ties and forge new partnerships within the GMS and with ASEAN member states, international organizations, and the private sector to capitalize on DIT advancements for the dual goals of economic growth and social inclusivity.

The forum will bring together about 300 participants from a diverse group of stakeholders involved in the advancement of digital transformation in the region. This includes government officials and policymakers from GMS countries, who play a pivotal role in shaping the digital landscape through regulatory frameworks and public initiatives.

Representatives from international organizations, NGOs, and civil society are also targeted, given their significant contributions to promoting digital inclusivity and addressing societal challenges through technology. Additionally, the forum will engage academics, researchers, and experts in digitalization, technology, and innovation.

Business leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors within the digital and technology sectors are invited to share their experiences, explore new opportunities, and contribute to a collaborative ecosystem that promotes technological advancement and economic growth in the GMS.

Media representatives are also expected to join and cover the event, amplifying crucial information and lessons about leveraging DIT for sustainable and inclusive development. Their presence will help disseminate key insights to a broader audience, facilitating greater awareness and understanding of the forum’s objectives and outcomes.

  1. Plenary session. The forum will begin with a plenary session featuring the official welcome and opening remarks, followed by keynote speeches.
  2. Break-out Sessions. Breakout sessions offer parallel and focused discussions, providing participants with the opportunity to delve deeper into the key thematic areas of the forum or explore the diverse landscapes of digital horizons. Development partners will be invited to host some of the breakout sessions under the thematic areas.
  3. Interactive Technology Demonstrations. Tech companies, startups, and research institutions will be invited to set up interactive booths to demonstrate their latest digital innovations, tools, and applications relevant to agriculture, trade, energy, and the environment.
  4. Digital Innovation Gallery. There will be a gallery space where participants can explore digital posters, infographics, and multimedia presentations highlighting successful projects, research findings, and case studies on digital transformation across the GMS.
  5. Engagement Photo Pod. A photo booth will be set up where participants can take photos with their take on the various Forum’s thematic areas. They will be given a pen and paper to write down their answers.
  6. National and Local Media Collaboration. Members of the national and local media will be invited to participate and cover the event.
  7. Social Media Integration. The Plenary Session will be streamed live across MI’s official social media channels.
  8. Virtual Study Tour. The Forum will feature a “Virtual Study Tour.” The activity complements the overall digital atmosphere of the forum. MI will collaborate with virtual tour providers in Thailand to create an immersive virtual experience for participants. Possible virtual sites include smart farming demonstrations, and projects on renewable energy, and environmental monitoring and conservation. 

The main conference language is English with simultaneous translation to Thai. The event format is onsite with the plenary session to be livestreamed on MI’s Facebook page. 

The registration portal will be open around mid-June. Kindly visit the page for more updates. 

For more information, contact:

Ms. Anusara Tanpitak
Communications and Knowledge Management Manager, Mekong Institute
Tel: +66 94 459 9848
Email: anusara(at)mekonginstitute.org

Mekong Forum 2023

Thursday July 27, 2023

Time (UTC+8)Activity
08:30 – 09:00Registration at Gran Ballroom 1st Floor
09:00 – 09:05Greetings and Welcome
Ms. Hao Wen, Senior Program Coordinator, MI and Emcee
09:05 – 09:15Introductory Remarks 
Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director, MI
Morning Plenary Session: Opening and Keynote Addresses
09:15 – 09:35Welcome and Opening Address
Mr. Chen Rongjie, Deputy Director General, Foreign Affairs Office of the People’s
Government of Yunnan Province
09:35 – 10:20Keynote Address I: “Revisiting GMS Cooperation”
Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, Chairman of MI Steering Committee
10:20 – 10:50

Keynote Address II: “Deepening the ASEAN Community Building: The Emerging Role and Contribution of the GMS through the ASEAN Lens”

H. E. Mr. Satvinder Singh, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, the ASEAN Secretariat

10:50 – 11:00Group Photo
11:00 – 11:20Coffee/ Tea Break, and Networking
11:20 – 12:00Overview of Thematic Breakout Session
-Representatives from the Breakout Sessions
-Prof. Dr. Ding Wenli, President of Kunming University
12:00 – 12:05Announcement by Emcee
12:15 – 13:30Lunch on the 3rd Floor
Afternoon Breakout Session
13:30 – 15:00

A: Agricultural Productivity and Market Access

Session Title :Transforming the Agriculture Sector toward Increased Productivity, Sustainability, and Resilience

B: Trade and Logistics

Session Title :Unlocking Opportunities: Reshaping Logistics and Investment through Emerging Trends and Green Practices

C: Clean Energy and Climate Resilience

Session Title :Transformative Pathways towards Low Carbon Development in the Energy Sector
15:00 – 15:20Coffee/ Tea break
15:20 – 17:00
A (continued)
B (continued)
C (continued)
18:30 – 20:30Mekong Forum Reception Dinner and Networking

Mekong Forum Study Tour (Optional)

Friday, July 28, 2023

TimeActivity
07:30Meet at the lobby of Kunming Kai Wah Plaza Hotel
09:00 – 11:15Morning study tour to Kunming Railway Vocation and Technical College 
11:45 – 13:00Lunch
13:30 – 15:30Afternoon study tour to Kunming International Flora Auction Trading Center
16:00 –
17:00
Return to the hotel

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