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The 2015 Greater Mekong Forum has now concluded. We thank all attendees and partners for being a part of it. Check below for new outputs and watch the forum video.

The 2015 Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from October 21-23, 2015. The event was co-hosted by the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems, the Ministry of Environment of the Royal Cambodian Government, and the International Water Management Institute. The Forum was the largest event in the Mekong Region to address the confluence of water, food and energy. It brought together regional water, food and energy professionals and thinkers to explore new and emerging ideas in water, its development and its exploitation. In 2013, the previous forums attracted over 270 participants from 95 different institutions. This year, 39 sessions were implemented by 39 different regional and international institutions, agencies and initiatives.

The annual event is not a research forum, but designed, rather, for researchers to present their innovations to potential users. All sessions are specifically designed to engage participants in discussion and deliberation, and to provide opportunities for participants to query and challenge research scientists.

Click here if you would like to download a PDF version of the agenda.
Click here if you would like to download a PDF version of the session descriptions.

Forum Survey Messages and Results

Find the session presentations on the forum session descriptions page.
View photos from the forum in our flickr album.
View the Closing Ceremony presentation on our slideshare.
Download the participants list here.
Take the follow-up survey here.

  • Be flexible and eager to learn from others.
  • Regional integration matters for the sharing of knowledge and experience.
  • The new management system of natural resources is governance.
  • An impressive new young generation from the Mekong region is emerging.
  • Complexities need more collaboration among the concerned stakeholders. This needs a safe platform to share and discuss and more importantly, translate the theory into practice.
  • Integration is very important; we need more decision makers present.
  • Basins are complex systems that need an inclusive approach, wider consensus and cooperation.
  • There s a dearth of complex problems in the Mekong region which involve many actors, but there is very little regional leadership.
  • Hydropower development might not be totally negative if enough consideration is paid to stakeholders and a good site is chosen.
  • Cooperation stems from understanding and adapting to each other’s way of working.
  • Good water governance is seen as a key solution to the issues in the basins but it is difficult to implement.
  • Commitment of the participants to persevere despite obstacles.
  • There is no single solution and we need to adopt a holistic perspective in a realistic, innovative and cooperative approach. We must bridge the gap between policy, practice and reality.
  • Dam developers and operators are joining the debate about the Mekong nexus. Great news!
  • Interactive sessions are far more engaging and informative than traditional conferences and encourages better networking.
  • Sharing and learning to make knowledge into wisdom.
  • We are facing an uncertain situation.
  • We need to initiate more fora like this.
  • Gender issues are not really taken into account in many development plans.
On a scale of 1-5, 1 being unsatisfactory and 5 being excellent:
Venue: 4.19
Food: 4.21
Admin support: 4.44
Facilitation: 4.38
Opening plenary: 4.19
Closing plenary: 4.16
Print materials: 3.86
Overall quality: 4.27
Likelihood of following up with someone they met there: 4.42
Degree to which their work would be influenced by lessons from the forum: 4.3

Good Feedback:

  • Sessions were fun and interactive, with good information and people
  • Diversity of sessions and stakeholders was best feature
  • Sessions had a variety of actors present to represent all sides
  • Great break-out discussions, presentation info and follow up, allowed people to question project experts
  • Session gave quantification of impacts and useful information
  • Actually learned new knowledge
  • Method and facilitation of role-playing was useful to real problems
  • Lots of information, ideas and discussion, can use ideas to develop own research, strategies for next couple of years

Constructive Feedback:

  • Fancy/wooly modeling very represented and the connection with actual mngmt not convincing. More grounded and traditional research (water management, social science) could be better represented
  • Sessions that asked a lot of audience input in a very simplified way, this reduced the overall complexity
  • Sessions that were slow and less information/rich discourse
  • Ways in which presenters present their works are boring
  • Sessions which were dependent on heavy group work to which some people did not feel the capacity or comfort to be able to speak up
  • A number of sessions felt like feedback for presenters or brainstorming rather than info sharing. Getting more background info or content would have been useful.
  • Often limited time to participate or was difficult arrangement

Ranked in order of prevalence:

  1. Government officials
  2. More private companies
  3. Local/affected people
  4. MegaFirst
  5. Financiers for dams
  6. Ministers from ASEAN

Overwhelmingly positive, most people agreed annually, though some respondents felt bi-annually was acceptable.

  • Yes, the opportunity to touch base on recent/ongoing research is very useful, and provides many opportunities for follow up.
  • We should have two yearly.
  • Great to meet people doing similar work in other countries.
  • Yes, it’s a great place to not only meet like-minded people, but also interact with those who have different ideas and explore how they understand the issues surrounding water, land, and ecology.
  • Yes, but maybe once every two years so it doesn’t become routine.
  • A great way to catch up with old friends and start new partnerships.
  • Yes, but would it be sustainable? Perhaps once every two years is enough.
  • Yes, to help us understand the reality and experiences of others, as well as share knowledge and cooperate to solve problems in the region.
  • The situation and availability of data and analysis is constantly changing. A chance to engage with our colleagues from different countries and exchange findings and ideas is very valuable.
  • It’s a good opportunity to meet a variety of stakeholders.
  • Nice format! Glad it wasn’t all PPT presentations, more interactive.
  • Kim should have done his “closing” speech at the opening plenary.
  • There are challenges, risk and benefits to bringing people together from such diverse backgrounds and institutions, and I felt like there needed to be more sensitivity to people coming from vulnerable situations.
  • I was disappointed to see the SEA session about Myanmar abuse their position of ‘expert’ knowledge and exploit ‘local’ knowledge without the proper transparency and equality of information.
  • We should have the meeting in Kunming to get more Chinese people involved.
  • Bring in Fisher again next time!
  • WLE should organize a debate.
  • Someone needs to carefully synthesize the main messages from each session and have a narrative on the water-food-energy in the GM to share with all participants
  • Some sessions that were thematically similar were held at the same time so I could not attend them, even though they were of interest to me.
  • Some key topics were missed, such as resettlement, poverty, and partnerships between developers and communities.
  • It might have been nice to have a field trip and have some face to face interactions with local people.
  • The presence of the 40 fellows is good value for money.
  • What about a prize?
  • We need more political/economy input, to help put things in perspective.