Bangkok, Thailand, February 2, 2024 – Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand (MFA Thailand), representing the Ayeyawady – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Strategy (ACMECS) member countries, joined hands with the Mekong Institute (MI) to formalize a landmark partnership aimed at advancing regional cooperation and integration for sustainable development within the ACMECS framework.
This milestone was marked by the ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), designating MI as the back-office support to the ACMECS Interim Secretariat (AIS) with MFA fulfilling the role of AIS.
Representing their respective organizations, Mrs. Phantipha Iamsudha Ekarohit, Deputy Permanent Secretary for MFA Thailand, and Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of MI, inked the MOU, signifying a commitment to collaboration and mutual support.
“We are honored to formalize this partnership with MFA Thailand and ACMECS member countries. We aim to contribute meaningfully to ACMECS initiatives, reaffirming our deep-rooted commitment to driving regional cooperation and integration for sustainable development,” said Mr. Suriyan.
Mrs. Phantipha expressed optimism in working with MI to advance ACMECS initiatives. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has entrusted the Mekong Institute to support the work of the ACMECS Interim Secretariat, confident of its long experience and internationally recognized work on the development of the Mekong subregion. We believe that such collaboration will provide greater impetus to actualizing the ACMECS’ objectives in promoting prosperity, sustainability and well-being of the Mekong people,” Mrs. Phantipha stated.
Recognizing its core identity as the only subregional framework collectively led by the five Mekong countries, the ACMECS celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Mrs. Phantipha emphasized, “The signing of the MOU comes at a pivotal moment in ACMEC’s transformative journey, witnessing a renewed and reinvigorated commitment from member countries to jointly drive meaningful change in the subregion. The MOU will support the enhancement of ACMECS’ role as a ‘connector’ in synergizing cooperation among multiple subregional frameworks aiming to narrow development gaps and support ASEAN integration.”
Under the terms of this agreement, MI assumes the role of supporting the AIS in its establishment and operationalization from 2024 to 2026. Leveraging its extensive expertise, experience, and network, MI will provide comprehensive technical support across various areas. These include policy formulation, strategic planning, coordination efforts, conferencing services, project management, and communication strategy development.
The signing ceremony was graced by distinguished individuals, including Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, Council Chairman of MI, representatives from the ACMECS member countries, ACMECS development partners, and members of the MI team.
The Ayeyawady – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) is a subregional cooperation framework initiated by Thailand in 2003, with a view to enhancing development and connectivity of the Mekong subregion. Composed of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam as member countries, ACMECS promotes economic integration and sustainable development in all dimensions. Through collaboration, it addresses shared challenges and fosters shared prosperity and growth.