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Introduction

The Lower Mekong Public Policy Initiative (LMPPI) is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). LMPPI is housed at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP), a center for public policy teaching, research and policy dialogue in Viet Nam, and is jointly managed by FETP and the Viet Nam Program of Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation in the United States.

LMPPI seeks to generate knowledge, promote learning, and stimulate dialogue on public policies to support environmentally sustainable economic development, increase agricultural productivity and improve household livelihoods in the five countries of the Lower Mekong Basin: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam.

LMPPI activities are designed to advance a sophisticated understanding of the water-food-energy nexus and to help meet regional decision makers’ needs for research-driven policy analysis in support of sustainable development goals.

Network building for cross-disciplinary research

Building upon the strengths of research institutions in the Lower Mekong Basin and external  academic partners, the initiative aims to establish a network of research partners engaged in  collaborative cross-disciplinary and transboundary research that will examine key topics in sustainable development related to climate change, resource competition, and regional economic integration.

Academic programs for capacity building

The project engages with Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) faculty and students to promote the teaching and study of policy challenges associated with sustainable development and natural resources management. Project efforts focus on integrating LMPPI research into FETP’s teaching and research activities, and on expanding FETP’s course offerings in environmental policy. FETP students will form the next generation of local leaders in Viet Nam – including many in the Mekong Delta – and LMPPI’s efforts aim to make environmental challenges and thinking central to their understanding of regional development challenges and opportunities.

Policy dialogue and outreach

With the aim of promoting effective and coordinated approaches to resource management, economic integration, and sustainable development, LMPPI’s policy dialogue activities create a forum for discussions among a broad range of government, private sector, and social stakeholders across the region.

Policy engagement is fully integrated into LMPPI’s research approach. Research formulation involves extensive initial consultations with a broad range of stakeholders including local, regional and central governments, civil society organizations, and local scholars to elicit their perspectives and input. Completed research reports are shared and discussed with policymakers, facilitating high-level conversations about the implications of the research for policy options.