ACMECS Interim Secretariat (AIS)
The Ayeyawady – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) is a sub- regional cooperation framework initiated by Thailand in 2003, with a view to enhancing development and connectivity of the Mekong subregion in all dimensions. It is composed of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam as members. ACMECS acts as the “core of the core” to align strategic interests of the subregion’s architecture with Mekong-led development agendas in setting direction for cooperation. While the meetings at senior official and working levels are held on a regular basis, the ACMECS Summit is convened every two years. At present, the Lao PDR is the current Chair of ACMECS, and Thailand has long been tasked as the ACMECS coordinator for Development Partners.
As the member countries’ priorities evolved against a competitive globalized order, ACMECS’s regional agenda was realigned to strategically optimize its strategic location, abundant natural resources, and diverse populace to set the progression for the subregion to become a powerhouse marked by robust trade and investment, linked transport and digital networks, an equipped population, technological innovation, and environmental sustainability.
Cognizant that these can only be realized and sustained in mutual cooperation, ACMECS has been expanding partnerships with other countries within and beyond Asia. It has also been forging deeper engagement with a broader range of public-private stakeholders to pool resources and efforts in creating an enabling and balanced socioeconomic environment, particularly in responding to the impacts of the pandemic and deploying longer-term post-recovery strategies.
Concomitantly, ACMECS has also been solidifying its value-added role in aligning complementarities by building upon gains of existing regional cooperation strategies and national development programs to address common interests, invest in shared progress, and deepen solidarity—understanding that inclusive alliances will propel sustainable economic growth, not only in Mekong and ASEAN countries but across the continent.
About ACMECS Interim Secretariat (AIS)
Against this backdrop, ACMECS leaders have agreed to escalate its commitments by forming a mechanism for efficient coordination between member countries, project implementation and engagement with development partners as well as external partners, institutions and think tanks. At the 9th ACMECS Summit, the Meeting agreed to the establishment of an ACMECS secretariat which shall be located in the Mekong Cooperation Unit (MCU), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.
To support the AIS in its initial 3-year set-up, the Mekong Institute (MI) has been appointed as a back-office to MCU/AIS providing technical support. To solidify this partnership, an MOU/Agreement between ACMECS (represented by Thailand) and the MI is scheduled to take place on February 2, 2024.
To support the successful implementation of the ACMECS Master Plan in achieving its goals of seamless connectivity, synchronized ACMECS economies, and smart and sustainable ACMECS.
To support ACMECS member countries and implementing partners in policy, planning and coordination, conferencing, project management, and strategic communications.
PURPOSE OF THE AIS
- To provide support for efficient planning, coordination, and execution of the corporate, strategic, and external relations-related activities of ACMECS;
- To provide support in the management and coordination of the activities under the ACMECS master plans, ensuring that the goals and objectives of the ACMECS are met; and
- To ensure the successful operation and smooth functioning of the ACMECS Interim Secretariat.
KEY FUNCTIONS OF THE AIS
(1) Policy, planning and coordination: the AIS, among others, formulates and proposes policies, plans and strategies, as well as recommendations on areas of cooperation to be focused, to ACMECS Senior Officials for consideration, and conducts academic projects and activities with a view to strengthening the ACMECS’ process and performance;
(2) Conferencing services: the AIS, among others, assists ACMECS Chair in organizing high-level and Coordinating Committees’ meetings as needed, on a case-by-case basis;
(3) Project management: the AIS, among others, monitors, follows up, evaluates and reviews the implementation of the ACMECS Prioritized Projects, as well as makes recommendations to improve project implementation;
(4) Strategic Communications: the AIS, among others, prepares and proposes communication strategy for ACMECS Senior Officials for consideration, and undertakes communication activities with a view to promoting public visibility, awareness, and recognition of ACMECS through various means and appropriate media and channels.
In addition, the AIS conducts extra projects or activities as tasked by the ACMECS Senior Officials which deem that such projects or activities would benefit, strengthen and advance ACMECS and its process.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE AIS
The AIS will be led by one official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand who is appointed as Director of the AIS. Additional officials and staff of the Ministry may also be assigned to assist the AIS Director as appropriate. The ACMECS Senior Officials will provide guidance to the AIS and a Steering Committee comprising representatives of ACMECS Member Countries will supervise the work of the AIS.