Trade and Investment Facilitation

Mekong Institute (MI), with support from the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF), successfully organized the “Training on Regional Project Identification” on August 14 to 18, 2023, in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Bringing together 30 participants from various ministries and institutes across the five Mekong countries[1], the training equipped participants with knowledge and skills to effectively design and plan projects at the regional level.

The comprehensive and week-long program covered the seven core priorities of MKCF[2] and informed the participants of the application process and requirements of the MKCF funding. Likewise, the training tackled the opportunities and challenges in designing and implementing regional projects. MI ensured that the training enables effective collaboration among participants through sharing of insights and experiences.

“The elevation of Mekong- Republic of Korea (RoK) collaboration to the summit level, combined with the dedication of both Mekong nations and ROK to enhancing these ties, presents even greater prospects for cultivating profound regional cooperation. This steadfast commitment, bolstered by diverse stakeholders, lays the groundwork for the future. I trust that this training establishes a solid footing for the implementation of regional projects,” said Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, MI’s Director for Trade and Investment Facilitation Department, during the opening ceremony.

Mr. Thongsa Inthavong, Deputy Director General of the Technical and Vocational Education Department, Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR, shared his perspective about the training. “The most valuable insight that I have gained from the training is how to identify regional issues with other Mekong countries. In terms of Human Resource Development, we noticed a lack of job opportunities for TVET graduates throughout the Mekong region. Through this training and in collaboration with Viet Nam and Cambodia, we were able to devise solutions,” Mr. Thongsa said.

The training is a vital component of the “Capacity Building on Regional Project Design, Implementation, Monitoring & Evaluation of Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (PRIME)”. Launched in April of this year and supported by the MKCF, this initiative pursues the overarching goal of enhancing institutional capacities for regional cooperation and integration among the five Mekong countries and RoK.

In pursuit of advancing subregional cooperation, the RoK established the MKCF in 2013 following the Han River Declaration in 2011. As of 2023, the RoK has committed US$18.4 million to bolster regional support and cooperation among the five Mekong member countries. This development fund has facilitated 41 projects, extending technical, financial, and administrative assistance to implementing agencies from Mekong countries as well as RoK, alongside regional and international organizations.

Upon the completion of this training, participants are primed to exemplify the knowledge and skills they have acquired, ultimately contributing to the advancement of their respective countries.

[1] Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Viet Nam, and Thailand

[2]MKCF seven priority sectors: (1) Culture and Tourism, (2) Human Resources Development, (3) Agriculture and Rural Development, (4) Infrastructure, (5) Information and Communication Technology (ICT), (6) Environment, and (7) Non-traditional Security Challenges

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