Representatives from the Mekong Program at the Asian Research Center for International Development (ARCID), part of the School of Social Innovation at Mae Fah Luang University, have recently held meetings with two prominent local non-governmental organizations (LNGOs) to discuss issues affecting the Mekong region and forge stronger connections with these organizations. These meetings aimed to gain updated information and insights from local communities and build better networks with LNGOs to address regional challenges.
On August 26, 2023, members of the Mekong Program met with leaders from the Mekong School in Chiang Khong. During this meeting, Mr. Niwat Roykeaw, also known as "Kru Tee," the recipient of the 2022 Goldman Environmental Award, emphasized the importance of conservation as a critical development concept. He argued that while many authorities in the Mekong region believe that compensation to locals is the solution to problems, the real solution lies in conservation and wise consideration of the commons. Khun Jirasak, the Water Level Monitor, also spoke about the significance of hydrotreating in the Mekong River, stating that he observes changes in water level and turbidity on a daily basis.
Two days later, on August 28, 2023, the Mekong Program team met with Mr. Teerapong Pomun of the Mekong Community Institute to learn about the institute's ongoing projects. These projects focus on studying the effects of overdevelopment on the livelihoods, people, and culture of Mekong communities and a fish conservation project for local communities in the Lower Mun River. Mr. Teerapong highlighted the importance of Thaibaan research, which is research conducted by villagers to complement scientific data with local knowledge.
In September 2023, the Mekong Program, ARCID, will host a seminar entitled "The Vitality of Community Research (Thaibaan Research)," with Mr. Teerapong as the primary resource person. This seminar promotes greater understanding and collaboration between academic and grassroots communities in the Mekong region.