Learning from the Forunners: Issues on water, energy and food access for the vulnerable communities in the Lower Mekong Basin Region

In September 2021, UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) commenced the implementation of the “Triangular Cooperation Project on Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong River Basin based on the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus” [RoK-UNOSSC Facility Phase 3]. The project is intended to strengthen access to water, energy and food for vulnerable communities living in Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) countries through an integrative development approach and linking needs to high-demand technology applications, particularly from the Republic of Korea.

On 18 April 2022, UNOSSC and the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) of the Republic of Korea, met with Mr. Radtasiri Wachirapunyanont, Regional Innovation Hub Manager of the South and Southeast Asia Regional Innovation Hub of the Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) to learn more about his experiences in working within the WEF Nexus context.  UNOSSC and STEPI expressed interest to hear about the achievements and lessons learnt under the WE4F.

Mr. Radtasiri Wachirapunyanont, Regional Innovation Hub Manager introducing WE4F initiative

The South and Southeast Asia Regional Innovation Hub (S/SEA RIH) supports the scaling-up of climate-friendly and environmentally sustainable, energy and/or water-efficient innovations in the water-energy-food (WE4F) nexus across the region in 15 countries. It focuses on women and the poor, in particular. The innovative approaches to their work include new technologies, business and finance models as well as new modes of cooperation.

Recognizing similarities between the two projects, the parties agreed to explore collaborative opportunities especially on knowledge generation and capacity building through South-South and triangular cooperation.  In particular, the two initiatives may strive to bridge the understanding and cooperation between policymakers and innovators to strengthen policy frameworks and create an enabling environment to apply creative solutions to maximize benefits to the three interlinked sectors of water, energy and food.  

WE4F, UNOSSC and STEPI discussing about potential areas for partnership

About the RoK-UNOSSC Facility Phase 3

The “Triangular Cooperation Project on Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong River Basin based on the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus” (2021-2025) aims to strengthen access to water, food and energy for vulnerable communities living in the Lower Mekong Basin (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam) through strengthening development approaches and management in these sectors. It will take integrative and multi-sectoral approaches in application of highly-demanded technologies on water, energy and food to improve the livelihoods of the people based on South-South and triangular cooperation modalities. The 5-year project is supported by the Ministry of Science and ICT, Republic of Korea, and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) leads the project in partnership with other institutions including the Mekong River Commission Secretariat (MRCS), Mekong Institute (MI) and the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) and will enlist the help of other UN Agencies.