Research Forum

Held as an online webinar on 27 October 2021, this forum will be an open space for senior and young researchers and practitioners from the upper and lower countries of the Lancang-Mekong Region to exchange knowledge and experiences on various issues related to water insecurity. The aim is to strengthen networks and partnerships in the region.

Policy Forum

Held as an online webinar on 28 October 2021, this will be an opportunity for policy dialogue among researchers, practitioners and policymakers associated with SUMERNET and friends of SUMERNET from the Embassy of Sweden, Thailand’s Office of the National Water Resources, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Secretariat, Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Water Centre, governmental agencies, universities and other stakeholders to understand their current efforts and policy needs for reducing water insecurity in times of uncertainty, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic. The forum also seeks to identify common interests for further cooperation on joint research, actions or other activities that concerned parties consider as feasible.

Objectives of the Lancang-Mekong Research and Policy Forums
  • To exchange knowledge and experiences among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in the Lancang-Mekong Region on how they address water insecurity in times of political, social and economic uncertainty.
  • To enhance understanding of opportunities to engage with ongoing regional water cooperation mechanisms in the Lancang-Mekong Region.
  • To strengthen networks and partnerships amongst researchers, policymakers and practitioners from all six countries in the Lancang-Mekong Region.
  • To cooperate on joint research, actions or other practical activities to support decision making processes in the Lancang-Mekong Region.

Background

Water politics and the tensions around water resource use and allocation between parties is a major issue in water insecurity within the Lancang-Mekong Region. This combined with contemporary socio-economic and political dynamics and climate change impacts bring additional burdens to the lives of the water insecure, particularly disrupting the lives of poor and other marginalized groups in the region.

There have been significant efforts from different stakeholders to use water diplomacy to address political factors around water insecurity. Regional platforms for water cooperation like the MRC and LMC cooperate beyond national borders to use dialogue, data sharing and joint projects to resolve these issues.

Additionally, to improve water diplomacy, researchers from different countries within the region have contributed to research on water insecurity to enhance decision making. However, there is often a disconnect between science and policy implementation: findings and recommendations of researchers are not always effectively disseminated to the wider public or meet the needs of the decision-makers for policy and practice.

Considering the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges, it is now more necessary than ever to engage in multi-stakeholder dialogue to bridge science and policy to address water insecurity.

SUMERNET comprises the network members from the six Lancang-Mekong countries and the Steering Committee representing network members with the technical support of the SUMERNET Secretariat hosted at SEI Asia in Bangkok, Thailand.