SUMERNET annual meeting and policy forum reschedule

SUMERNET Annual Meeting and Policy Forum 2011 has been rescheduled due to Bangkok's Floods.

This year's Annual Meeting and Policy Forum of the Sustainable Mekong Research Network (SUMERNET) has been rescheduled for the 11-13 of January 2012 due to the extensive flooding throughout Thailand, and including Greater Bangkok. The SUMERNET Secretariat would like to use the rescheduling of the event as an opportunity to encourage all of those that are interested in the issues of the Greater Mekong Subregion to attend. 

Each year, as part of the Annual Meeting and Policy Forum of the Sustainable Mekong Research Network (SUMERNET), a discussion panel is hosted to gain key insights and knowledge from key stakeholders and specialists in the region on emerging issues within the Greater Mekong. The Sustainable Mekong Research Network would like to invite those with an interest in the emerging issues of the Greater Mekong to attend, and to encourage you to RSVP by Friday the 9th of December (see details below) to guarantee your place at the policy forum. The policy forum is a one day event held on 12 January 2012, as part of the overall Annual Meeting. 


SUMERNET aims to support a long-term research network that informs and influences policy development on sustainable development in the Mekong Region. Launched in 2005 with from the Swedish government, SUMERNET's network now includes 25 research institutions across Southeast Asia. The goal of SUMERNET is to advance sustainable development-based policy processes. 

SUMERNET's current research priorities address five themes; ecosystem services, trans-boundary issues, energy and climate change, poverty and livelihoods, and sustainable urbanisation. These research projects are being implemented by almost 30 national teams, comprised of nearly 100 researchers across the Mekong Region and Southeast Asia. SUMERNET's 2011 Annual Meeting aims to strengthen this robust research network and influence future policy development. Apart from networking and sharing knowledge within SUMERNET, the forum provides an opportunity to link with a wide range of researchers and policy actors interested in advancing sustainable development in the Mekong Region. 

This year's Annual Meeting and Policy Forum

The Annual Meeting and Policy Forum will explore the affect of regional development trends on livelihoods, both future and retrospective.

For decades now, the vast majority of economic activity in the region has been driven farmers, fishermen, laborers and small and medium enterprises. Yet, with changes such as advancing investment in infrastructure and business accelerating regional integration; what will be the implications for new and traditional livelihoods alike? Left unconstrained, how likely are these changing trends to create an equal distribution of wealth across and within societies and countries? Who is likely to benefit, and who is likely to be disadvantaged by the shifting trends? What mechanisms are necessary to ensure greater social equity, and assure the preservation of the environmental services that are vital to the region's long-term social and economic sustainability?

This topic emerged from the broader themes developed over the SUMERNET three-day annual research meeting that was held in January 2011:

  • the rapid transformation of livelihoods and environmental management challenges through the fast development in the Mekong Region and (in broader terms) across the ASEAN countries;
  • the important role that regional integration and cooperation has played in this rapid transformation, involving actors including the private sector, regional think tanks, development agencies, civil society and researchers, and;
  • the role that SUMERNET research can play in informing debate on issues emerging from regional development, and in facilitating a close collaboration with boundary partners on individual projects and through convening regional policy forums.

January's Forum will host a range of speakers with diverse expertise from across the globe, each presenting and leading discussion on the challenges ahead for preserving and advancing livelihoods within the Greater Mekong Subregion. These speakers include:

  • Dr. Chayan Vaddhanaphuti, Director, Regional Centre for Social Science and Sustainable Development, Chang Mai University
  • Dr. Hu Tao, Chief Economist, Policy Research Centre for Environment and Economy, State Environmental Protection Administration of China and Sumernet Advisor
  • Mr. Don Pathan, Senior Editor and Asia Region Analyst, The Nation Newspaper
  • Dr. Le Dang Goang, Independent Sustainable Development Scholar, Viet Nam
  • Dr. Kanokwan Jammanorom, Senior Mekong Rural Development Researcher, Ubon Rachathani University
  • Representative, CP Group

The event will be moderated by Dr. Louis Lebel, SUMERNET Senior Advisor and the founding and current Director of the Unit for Social and Environmental Research (USER), Faculty of Social Science, Chang Mai University.

 Meeting Venue and Dates

Wednesday 11th January, Thursday 12th January, and Friday 13th January 2012

Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Bangkok Hotel

The Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Bangkok Hotel ( is located in the heart of Bangkok on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. The nearest sky train exit is Saphan Taksin Station, the expressway and the international airport is 40 minutes away. A shuttle boat service between the hotel and the Saphan Taksin sky train is available between 7am-11pm every 30 minutes. A map of the area can be found here


Download the SUMERNET Annual Meeting and Policy Forum - Information and Tentative Agenda (Sumernet Annual Meeting and Policy Forum 11-13 January – Agenda)


To RSVP, please email Skye Turner-Walker ( by no later than Friday, 9th December 2011 with your details, including your name, position and organization.

Please note that attendees will need to cover their own travel to the venue and accomodation costs where applicable, and unless otherwise stated by the SUMERNET Secretariat.