Addressing complexity in planning for the water/food/energy nexus in the Mekong: Using the “Robust Decision Support” (RDS) approach

Agus Nugroho By Agus Nugroho - Oct 19, 2015

SUMERNET will co-organise a panel on “Robust Decision Support (RDS) for Addressing the Complexity and Uncertainty in Planning for Water, Food and Energy Nexus”.  The RDS panel is part of the 4th Greater Mekong Forum on Water, Food and Energy to be held in Phnom Penh, 21-23 October 2015. 

The panel is co-hosted with Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Asia Centre and the Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiative (LMPPI). 

How can RDS help in the Mekong Region?

The RDS has been largely shaped by the Robust Decision Making (RDM) approach, developed by the RAND Corporation, to aid in decision making under conditions of deep uncertainty in relation to complex problems, which are considered to be the nature of nexus related issues in the Mekong Region.

Meeting the needs of multiple users in an increasingly resource limited region requires that natural resources such as water, land, and energy are used effectively and equitably. Bringing together the relevant stakeholders and accounting for inter-sectoral dependencies at different levels within one country is already considered technically and politically difficult. For the Mekong Region, it is even more complicated to meet demands as use and management interventions in one country may affect resources available in another country. 

Rapid changes within (and beyond) regional economic integration, alongside plans for investments in large-scale infrastructure, and other uncertainties such as climate change, compound the challenges of good decision making for the long-term development in the region. These challenges raise two critical questions for strategic planning and development:

•           How can decision makers deal with the “complexity” and “uncertainty” of planning for water, food and energy nexus issues?

•           How can we support meaningful engagement between concerned stakeholders from different agencies, levels, and sectors in the process of developing robust strategies and plans?

It will introduce the participants to an innovative approach: Robust Decision Support (RDS), to address the issues of complexity, uncertainty, and multi-stakeholder engagement in planning for water, food and energy nexus issues.  

This session will add value to the WLE Mekong Forum specifically, as well as to the WLE programme in general, because of its focus on support for decision makers dealing with complexity, uncertainty, and multi-stakeholder engagement in planning for nexus issues. This session will offer an opportunity for the WLE project teams, as well as other WLE Mekong Forum participants, to expand their contacts and networks, and their interactions with new partners who have been using RDS/RDM. In addition the session organizers and their collaborative partners will interact with participants by exchanging their experiences working with this tool in the Mekong Region and other parts of the world.

The panel will cover 2 WLE special sessions (SS12 and SS14) on 22 October 2015.

For more information about the panel, please contact:

Dr. Chayanis Krittasudthacheewa ( or Dr. Lada Phadungkiati (  














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Building research for policy towards sustainable development in the Mekong Region

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