Sustainable Mekong Research Network (SUMERNET) Learning Forum was concluded this week in Bangkok with the participation of over 100 participants. The forum was aimed to gather researchers, boundary partners (policy influencers and policy makers), advisories and mentors who were involved in SUMERNET projects for sharing knowledge and lessons learnt from SUMERNET Phase 3 (2014-2017) and to discuss about policy-research interaction for its next phase “SUMERNET 4 All”. SUMERNET is a regional research network promoting scientific policy relevant research to influence policy decisions in the region which was initiated in 2005, at a time when its need was paramount. The region is undergoing rapid transformation, which in turn has increased the stress on natural resources and biodiversity questioning the sustainability of the region in the long run. Moreover, poverty and gender and social inequality prevailing in the region is standing in its way to achieve SDGs.
SUMERNET has provided a platform for the researchers and boundary partners to work collaboratively, supporting them with resources and providing opportunities for capacity building to help deliver credible research to overcome these challenges and achieve sustainable development.The forum provided a platform for policy actors and researchers to discuss and debate on the needs for robust scientific research to influence policy and practices which will reduce water insecurities for ALL in the Mekong Region. The discussions were mainly under three research themes: 1) Water access, rights and allocation in times of scarcity 2) Governance and management of flood disaster risk, and 3) transboundary interactions with water systems.