Sustainable Mekong Research Network Programme (Sumernet)
The Sustainable Mekong Research Network (Sumernet) began in 2004 with the idea of bringing together researchers from Mekong countries to work on a common, self-created research agenda. The Swedish government has supported Sumernet in the first phase of its operation which lasted four years, ending in mid-2009.
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Sumernet promotes the use of scientific knowledge in public policy making. Independent research in the Mekong region has been supported through a programme of grants for institutions and individual researchers. The network facilitates and promotes engagement between scientists, policy makers and development organizations.
Sumernet research has focused particularly around three ‘hotspots’ of development in the Mekong region: the dry uplands of northern Lao PDR, where foreign investment is changing traditional patterns of agriculture and settlement; Cambodia’s Great Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater body and fishery; and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, a major rice production area.
In tandem with providing research grants, Sumernet has helped to promote good standards for independent research in the region, through training courses and research collaboration between domestic universities and international organizations.
The Sumernet partnership has yielded research reports on topics as diverse as fisheries, land-use planning, migration and flood preparedness, which have important policy implications. SEI’s Asia Centre in Bangkok acts as a secretariat to Sumernet.
Read recent Sumernet research reports here
Sumernet in the future
SEI is currently seeking funding for a new phase of Sumernet, which will make greater use of information and communications technology to disseminate research findings to NGOs, academic institutions and other networks, and to deepen its policy engagement. A broader range of potential partners would be involved in order to get the best value out of the research that has been undertaken to date.
External website: www.sumernet.org/
Funder: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency