A project aiming at accelerating the realisation of goals set in the Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiative ( LMPPI) was launched at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13.

According to the Fulbright Economics Teaching Programme (FETP) of Ho Chi Minh City ’s University of Economics , the organiser of the event, the project will gather research institutes in the Lower Mekong region and their partner universities to carry out research into challenges to the environment, agriculture and livelihood.

It will also promote dialogues on public policy in an attempt to boost sustainable economic development an improve people’s livelihood in Vietnam , Cambodia , Thailand , Laos and Myanmar .

Addressing the workshop, Rena Bitter, US Consul General to Ho Chi Minh City , said the project is expected to help build policies for promoting sustainable economic development, in order to better the living conditions for people in the region.

The project’s activities will focus on strengthening regional cooperation in analysing the relationship among water, food security and energy, thus giving proposals and measures in the field.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), LMPPI is led by the Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation - Harvard Kennedy School , and FETP .

It seeks to build institutional capacity in action-research and public policy for ecologically sustainable development in the Lower Mekong region through interdisciplinary collaboration and multi-sectorial knowledge exchange in the five contries.

The initiative is anchored in an evolving regional network of researchers and decision-makers working in agricultural production and natural resource management systems. Major nodes of the network consist of small teams of researchers at university, government, and non-government research units, which will conduct outreach to key stakeholders from a range of sectors and disciplines.-VNA