Viet Nam calls for the strengthening of Mekong Stakeholders’ common understanding on Water-Energy-Food Nexus to contextualise the concept in practical applications

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On 7 June 2022, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) Regional Office for Asia-Pacific and the Viet Nam National Mekong Committee Secretariat (VNMCS) met online to discuss Viet Nam’s expectations of the project and brief them on project progress. Viet Nam 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 Thailand.

The Vietnam delegation was led by Dr. Truong Hong Tien, Deputy Director-General of VNMCS. Dr. Tien informed UNOSSC participants in the meeting that the WEF Nexus was introduced to the Mekong Region in 2012. He added that to his knowledge, the WEF concept has not been widely translated into practical applications or well understood in local contexts. He therefore emphasised that the P-LINK should provide a clear understanding on the concept and its practical applications to the regional stakeholders. “Most people understand IWRM (Integrated Water Resource Management) but have not well understood the WEF Nexus. We therefore need the project team to explain clearly about the differences and similarities of these two concepts,” he requested.

Dr. Tien wished that the national pilots under the P-LINK would not be the end and suggested efforts be made to scale up the project to the regional level (beyond individual country pilots). The UNOSSC team agreed to keep this as one of the longer-term objectives of the project along with other exit strategies.

The VNMCS delegation asked the Project Management Team to explain the selection criteria for the national pilot projects and the expected role of NMCs in the national implementation. The Project Management Team indicated that the demand driven process entails leadership by representative of national governments and explained why the project was deliberately consulting stakeholders before implementation. The Management Team promised to prepare a set of criteria for pilot selection including an annex on the roles of NMCs. The criteria and annex will be sent to participants before the Consultative Forum on June 28 in Bangkok.

The Viet Nam representatives pledged to facilitate the selection of pilots through liaison with the local authorities. The VNMCS restated their very enthusiastic support for the project.

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.