Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MI Forge Historic Partnership to Advance ACMECS Regional Cooperation

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.

“The signing of the MOU takes place at a timely moment on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of ACMECS in 2023. The MOU will help to reinvigorate ACMECS in addressing present and future challenges while maintaining its core identity as the only
subregional framework collectively led by the five Mekong countries. The MOU will also support the enhancement of ACMECS’ role as a ‘connector’ in synergizing cooperation among multiple subregional frameworks in narrowing development gaps and in supporting ASEAN integration,” she added.

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.

ACMECS, established in 2003 by the leaders of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, promotes economic integration and sustainable development among its member countries. Through collaboration, it addresses shared challenges and fosters shared prosperity and growth.

The signing ceremony was graced by distinguished individuals, including Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, Council Chairman of MI, and Mr. Sarun Charoensuwan, Permanent Secretary for MFA Thailand. Additionally, attendees included representatives from the ACMECS member countries, ACMECS development partners, and members of the MI team.

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