The pressing need to assist socio-economic aspects of riparian communities including monitoring of sea level and water quality that directly affects fish cultivation and farming – Exploring Thailand’s role in P-LINK.

The P-LINK is a project entitled, “Triangular Cooperation on Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong Basin based on the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus”, it is also known as the RoK-UNOSSC Facility (Phase 3).

RoK-UNOSSC Facility Phase 3 Logo

On 25 May 2022, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) Regional Office for Asia-Pacific and the Thailand National Mekong Committee Secretariat (TNMCS) met to discuss the role of the Royal Government of Thailand in the project. Thailand is one of the four Lower Mekong Basin countries participating in the project funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) of the Republic of Korea. The three other countries are Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam.

As an upper-middle income country, Thailand’s role in the project could be both as a beneficiary or a provider within the triangular cooperation arrangement. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the way forward in lieu of the upcoming First Consultative Stakeholder Meeting to take place on 28 June 2022. The meeting with TNMCS followed the instruction by the Project Steering Committee for the Project Management to clarify Thailand’s position and to report back to the Steering Committee.

The TNMCS delegation led by Mr. Chumlarp Tejasen, Director of the Foreign Affairs Division at the Office of the National Water Resources under the Prime Minister’s Office, informed the UNOSSC participants about the project entitled, “Strengthening Civil Society Network in eight (8) provinces along the Mekong River”. The objectives of this project are to support communities whose livelihoods have been disrupted by climate change and adverse development related impacts, particularly affecting women, youth and disabled. Furthermore, the project shares knowledge on biodiversity management and conservation as well as transfer of technology.

The parties recognized the similarities between Thailand’s initiative and P-LINK. Thus, there was concurrence that Thailand could have a dual role as a knowledge provider and recipient of relevant and appropriate innovative technologies from the Republic of Korea. Towards further defining this role, the UNOSSC team will also conduct dialogue with the other National Mekong Committees in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam with a view to facilitate knowledge exchanges among them. Furthermore, relating to the selection of the pilot area in Thailand, the participants concurred that the P-LINK should focus in the same areas as the Thailand project.

The agreed way forward with Thailand will facilitate the selection of pilots in all the countries, allocation of resources, identification of beneficiaries and specification of project results indicators. The TNMCS restated their support for the project and underlined that they would be supportive regardless of the role envisaged for Thailand. Furthermore, the parties agreed to a field visit to some of the provinces hosting Thailand’s project, the field visit will precede the First Stakeholder Consultative Meeting.

TNMCS and UNOSSC staff after the meeting