|To further support its research network’s ability to influence policy development on sustainable development issues in the Mekong region, three new projects have been selected as eligible for Sumernet funding.
• Livelihood vulnerability to flooding in Lower Mekong Basin: options for enhancing adaptive capacity of communities living within the most vulnerable floodplains in Cambodia and Vietnam, to be led by the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute at Can Tho University.
• Negotiating strategies to improve livelihood and paths out of poverty: finding new windows of opportunity for the Mekong’s rural poor in the context of regional economic integration, to be led by Khon Kaen University.
• Evaluation of a pilot program on payments for forest environmental services in Vietnam and their policy implications for Laos and Cambodia to be led by the College of Economics at Hue University.
Combined, US $254,000 is slated to be distributed between the three projects which will be implemented over the next 12 to 18 months. Research teams will now be developing full proposals and work programmes, with final project approval slated for 30 September. The Sumernet secretariat will be providing these teams with mentors to help strengthen their research strategies and to ensure they meet the Sumernet’s funding requirements.
The three projects were selected from a pool of ten concepts notes received in June. Each project met strict guidelines pertaining to collaboration between multiple agencies and between Mekong countries, participatory project design by engaging stakeholders at the project inception stage, having knowledge-based policy outcomes, research management capabilities and cost effectiveness. The overall quality of the concepts submitted was quite good, both in terms of innovation and diversity of research ideas presented, making the final selections difficult for the review panel.
The next round of Sumernet funding will begin in January 2011 when concept notes can again be submitted under the themes of Trans-boundary issues, and Energy & climate change.