Thai local communities mitigating and adapting to adverse impacts from water flow and climate change in the Mekong region

The UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the Mekong Institute (MI) and the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) of the Republic of Korea conducted a field visit to Bueng Kan Province in Thailand on 17- 19 June 2022. The visit was at the invitation of the Thai National Mekong Committee Secretariat (TNMCS).

As an upper-middle income country, Thailand participates in P-LINK as a beneficiary and a provider within the triangular cooperation arrangement. The country is willing to share its experience on implementing projects in its eight provinces bordering the Mekong river – “Strengthening Civil Society Network in Eight Provinces along the Mekong River”.  The purpose of the visit to Bung Khla Subdistrict in Bueng Kan Province was to hear and observe the challenges faced by the local community in relation to the adverse impacts of climate change and development in the Mekong River Basin as well as to understand the response and mitigation measures employed under the Thai project.  The project is intended to support communities whose livelihoods have been disrupted, particularly women, youth, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. Furthermore, the project shares knowledge on biodiversity management and conservation as well as transfer of technology.

On 18 June 2022, P-LINK and TNMCS delegation headed by Director Chumlarp Tejasen, Director of Foreign Affairs Division, Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) met with community leaders from Bung Khla Subdistrict in Bueng Kan Province and the Mahasarakham University’s research team which works closely with the local community. The community members and the research team presented on the challenges faced by fishermen, and the root causes for the depletion of fish stocks and in some cases near extinction. They briefed the meeting on how traditional, cultural and religious beliefs and norms are used to convince community members on conservation.

Briefing by community leaders at visit site near the Mekong River

The observations and learning from the field visit also facilitated the P-LINK stakeholders to finetune a proposed set of selection criteria for national pilot sites and a tentative implementing structure for pilots in the four participating countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. The proposed criteria and structure were due to be presented to countries during the First Regional Consultative Stakeholder Forum on 28 June 2022.

P-LINK, TNMCS and Bung Khla delegation after the discussion

About the RoK-UNOSSC Facility Phase 3 

The “Triangular Cooperation Project on Sustainable Development in the Lower Mekong 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.