About

I. BACKGROUND

ASEAN represents a region that is home to approximately 610 million people. And by the end of this year, 2015, these nations will embark on a new phase of development – the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).  This will open up the member countries to a freer movement of goods, services, capital investment, and skilled labor. Despite the promising opportunities of the AEC, it also poses many challenges. Half of the nations belonging to ASEAN are also part of what is called the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). The GMS countries are doing their best to prepare for AEC. But although they have been making great strides in reducing poverty, such as tangible inter-regional economic cooperation, more effort is needed to narrow the development gap between the less developed GMS countries - Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam (CLMV).

Parts of the GMS are also two provinces of China - Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. China will also be a key player in the development of ASEAN. And as we all know, China and ASEAN has just passed the “golden decade” (2003-2013) and has now entered the “diamond decade.”  In the “golden decade”, China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), the biggest FTA among developing countries was established in 2010. China - ASEAN bilateral trade amount increased from $ 78.43 billion to $ 443.91 billion, an increase of 5.7 times. ASEAN has been China’s third largest trading partner since 2011. At present, an upgraded version of China-ASEAN FTA under active negotiation is expected to be completed within this year. The China - ASEAN cooperation is in line with the trend of the global economic integration and trade and investment liberalization. This mutual investment and cooperation between China and ASEAN has contributed to the comprehensive and rapid development of the region and is in line with the trend of the global economic integration and trade and investment liberalization.

The end of this year marks the beginning a long gradual process of ASEAN economic integration. Once the AEC blueprint is fully implemented, ASEAN will strive to be a region with a single market and production base; a highly competitive economic region; a region of equitable economic development; a region that is fully integrated into the global economy. Advancements need to be made to be ready for the post-AEC 2015, such as modern market system (e-commerce, digitalization), production technology, policy framework and legislation, investment environment, labor market management, and business matching and development system in order to reap more benefits from such great opportunities as well as tackle all challenges that lie ahead. Modernization is the key to accelerate development in terms of productivities, technologies, and competitiveness.

Mekong Institute (MI) is seizing this opportunity to reach out through the Mekong Forum 2015 on ‘Modernizing the GMS towards the post-AEC 2015’. It will be held on July 8, 2015 at Rachawadee Resort & Hotel, Khon Kaen, Thailand. The forum will bring together senior policy makers, business and civic leaders, academia, and development practitioners who are interested and involved in GMS and the AEC. Throughout the course of the one-day-long event, participants will seek to define appropriate measures and plans which support positive gains made by modernizing the GMS and avoid, minimize, or mitigate the negative consequences and development disparities within and between GMS countries.

II. OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the seminar are:

1.    To be a forum for experts and practitioners to share success stories, lessons learned and innovative ideas on modernizing public and private sectors as parts of development process in the GMS
2.    To identify areas of collaboration that will synergize development within the GMS and in ASEAN integration and other cooperation frameworks;
3.    To jointly formulate policy recommendations for the GMS governments to modernize the GMS towards the post-AEC 2015


III. ANTICIPATED OUTPUTS

The anticipated outputs are:

1.    Forum proceedings
2.    Action-oriented, pragmatic ideas for modernizing the GMS
3.    Networks of participants who share common interests

IV. TARGET PARTICIPANTS

The forum will be of interest to executives or senior officials of development organizations, particularly those who are engaged at (GMS/ASEAN) regional level. The forum is targeted at governmental/inter-governmental, non-government/civil society, private and non-profit developments organizations, research institutes, and academic institutes as well as support agencies that are providing financial and technical assistance.

V. Venue

Mekong Forum 2015 will be held at Rachawadee Resort & Hotel, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
 

VI. DRAFT PROGRAM SCHEDULE AND AGENDA


JULY 8, 2015

AM

08.30-09.00 Registration
09.00-12.30 Welcome Remarks
 

Opening Remarks
Keynote Speech
Panel Presentations
Questions and Answers

12.30 Lunch
   
 PM  
 13.30-17.15 Panel Presentations
Panel Discussions
  Wrap-up and the Way Forward
18.00 Pre Cocktail & Reception Dinner
   


* Note: All Speakers will be identified and confirmed later.


VII. REGISTRATION

For inquiries, please contact Ms. Tina Wang using the contact details provided below. To register the forum, please visit www.mekongforum.com. The registration deadline is on June 12, 2015.

VIII. COST

Participants are requested to pay for their own international and domestic travel expenses, as well as accommodation. MI will provide for meals (coffee breaks, lunch, and dinner) during the forum. Only the expenses of the invited speakers and panelists will be covered by MI.


IX. CONTACT

Ms. Tina Wang
Program Coordinator

Mekong Institute
Tel: + 66 (0) 43 202 411-2 ext. 4014
Mob: + 66 (0) 87 637 1283
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.