International experts in environmental research and policy gathered at a workshop on November 13, 2014 at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) Ho Chi Minh City. The event kicked off the new Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiative (LMPPI), supported with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project fulfills goals of the U.S. Government’s Lower Mekong Initiative by bringing together research institutes located in the Lower Mekong region and academic partners to study environment, agriculture and livelihood challenges and stimulate dialogue on public policies to support environmentally sustainable economic development and improve livelihoods in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar.
“Through research, teaching, and policy dialogue, LMPPI will seek to develop and promote policies that advance sustainable economic development and, ultimately, improve the lives of people in the region. Along with its local partner institutions, LMPPI will be a platform for Mekong countries to discuss the region’s most vexing challenges,” said Consul General Rena Bitter of the Consulate General of the United States in Ho Chi Minh City at the event.
The initial research under the project will focus on the links between water, food security, and energy, so international experts at the workshop are expected to discuss how they can work together to conduct research on Mekong linkages around these issues, formulate evidence-based economic and governance recommendations, and facilitate strategic discussion of solutions among policymakers.
“The American people are proud to be your partners in efforts to address the region’s key environmental, economic, and development challenges,” continued Consul General Bitter.
The project is housed at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) Ho Chi Minh City, a joint initiative of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Vietnam Program (USA) and the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). The project will also integrate the project’s research and policy formulation work into FETP’s existing teaching and research activities and expand FETP’s course offerings in environmental policy.