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2024 MSSRC International Conference

1. Rational

          This research conference “Mekong-Ganga Development and Poverty in Regional Transition and Uncertainty” focuses on a shared cross-learning process among scholars, students, local peoples, practitioners and policymakers. The prevailing transition in both Mekong and Ganga regions include regional dynamics of investment and trade that play a crucial role in determining the resource use change, access to these resources and resource governance for the peoples. The development transition often comes with uncertainty and the peoples in both regions are living in such an uncertain situation that includes resource pressures, inequalities, societal transformations, widespread and intensi­fying polarisation in which non-human actors also play key roles in the development agenda. Therefore, the conference “Mekong-Ganga Development and Poverty in Regional Transition and Uncertainty” is timely to highlight, address and reflect upon the current issues of poverty and development from a number of different perspectives, concepts, methods and practices. Hence, what will be discussed is the future research agenda for the  Mekong-Ganga development and poverty which includes both theories and practices.

          Since the establishment of the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) in 2002, the country members including India, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam have had common development agendas and initiatives. They are tourism, education, culture and communication and transportation under the regional cooperation frameworks, particularly the Ayeyawady - Chao Phraya - Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and ASEAN. Over the past twenty years of the MGC, twelve MGC Ministerial Meetings have been held. The most recent meeting took place on 12 July 2023. Since then, there are plans of actions such as the Hanoi Program Plan of Action and the Phnom Penh Road Map that are underway. All these are mainly initiated by the government agencies.  MCG has been mainly progressing on the physical connectivity including the construction of the India - Myanmar - Thailand Trilateral Highway to enhance the connectivity between the Mekong sub-region and the Indian sub-continent, as well as the signing of the Motor Vehicle Agreement.

          However, regarding to the status of the Mekong-Ganga studies as important knowledge space, academic discussion on development, progress and poverty fields within the contexts of transition and uncertainty are rarely organised.  According to the current debates on development and poverty, one school of thought would say that development brings propensity, poverty eradication and sustainability. Benefits of poverty would be trickled down by other factors like education, employment and quality of life. On the other hand, another school of thought would argue that poverty would not be eradicated as poverty policy, plan and implementation do not tackle inequality, the limited access and control of resources available in society. Poverty reduction is complicated as it is related to the issues of gender, ethnicity, marginality, identities and emotion. The discussion on the  intersectionality of poverty and development is urgently called for as it helps understand its multi-dimensional nature and other forms of inequality.

          Certain key potential researches have been conducted with the themes of regional cooperation and geopolitics focusing upon the models of cooperation under systems of competition for natural resource use, driving factors and mechanisms of cooperation in the Mekong and Ganga regions. Other themes include the Chinese perspective of the Mekong-Ganga challenges and integration. Hence, the issues of water-food-energy nexus have been discussed. They are the livelihood improvement, women empowerment and water-energy-food governance issues. Climate change as a political factor that affects the development and poverty issues still needs to be addressed. The related topics include risk assessment for climate change, induced vulnerability, co-production of knowledge on climate change responses, livelihood and the lifestyle study with respect to high carbon and low carbon mapping. In addition, the lives of common peoples including their identities, culture, believes, ages, ethnicities, classes, and gender need to be understood and debated. They need to be discussed on how development benefits the peoples, whether they have equal access to enjoy the development growth, how the intersectionality matters in development agenda and poverty reduction programmes as well as how and why different actors that include researchers, students, CSCs, private sectors and the media get involved with the issue of development and poverty eradication. These issues are very important in the development and poverty reduction agenda.

            Organizations and Partners:

            1) Mekong Subregion Social Research Center [MSSRC], Ubon Ratchathani University

            2) India studies Center, Ubon Ratchathani University

            3) India Foundation

            4) School of Social Innovation, Mae Fah Luang University

            5) Institue of Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University


2. Objectives

1) To seek an emphasis on debate and criticise the ideas, approaches and methodologies on development and poverty

2) To present and discuss many different stories and narratives of development and poverty pathways from multidimensional themes about the Mekong and Indian development transition and uncertainty

3) To seek further research cooperation among scholars from both the Mekong riverine countries and India


3. Call for Paper

Themes of the conference

1) Theories, concept, approaches and methods of development and poverty

2) Lifestyle and livelihoods in development transition and uncertainty

3) Gender, intersectionality and development agenda

4) Arts, music, language and culture in development and poverty perspectives

5) State and development agenda in the uncertain world

6) CSOs, actors and networks in development

7) Non-human actors in development and poverty reduction

Paper submission [before 16 January 2024] herehttps://forms.gle/q7ZsD7Wxqh7BHtcU6

           Selected paper will be published in the conference proceedings. The certifcate will be provided for presenter.

4. Time/ Place

1-2 March 2024 at U-Place Hotel, Ubon Ratchathni University, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand


5. Registration

          Registration here: https://forms.gle/AfobVUzzGJks12CQ8

          Payment process will be announced later.

- Early bird

before 31 December 2023

General  2,500 Baht/Person   

Student 1,000 Baht/Person 

- Normal 

before 15 February 2024   

General  3,500 Baht/Person   

Student 1,500 Baht/Person 


6. Tentative Program


1 March 2024



09.00 - 09.30

Opening Ceremony


09.30 – 10.30

“Mekong-Ganga in the Transition

Keynote: H.E. Mr.Nagesh Singh

                Ambassador of India to Thailand


10.30 – 10.45



10.45 – 12.00

Plenary session “Poverty in the Inequity World”

1. Prof. Dr. Catherine Baron, Toulouse University

2. Assoc.Prof. Dr. Kanokwan Manorom, Ubon Ratchathani University

3. India special guest

Moderator: Dr. Thanachate Wisaijorn, Ubon Ratchathani University


12.00 - 13.00



13.00 – 14.30

Sub-theme Oral Presentation

Theme 1: Theories, concept, approaches and methods of development and poverty



Theme 2:  Lifestyle and livelihoods in development transition and uncertainty



Theme 3:  Gender, intersectionality and development agenda


14.45 – 16.15

Theme 4: Arts, music, language and culture in development and poverty perspectives



Theme 5: State and development agenda in the uncertain world



Welcome reception (Cocktail)





2March 2024



09.00 – 9.45

“Marginalization and SDGs : Questions on Sustainable Development”

Keynote: Prof.Dr. Surichai Wan’gaeo

                Chulalongkorn University, Thailand


09.45 – 10.45



10.45 – 12.30

Sessions: Towards 25 years of Mekong Ganga Cooperation



Sub-theme Oral Presentation

Theme 6: CSOs, actors and networks in development



Theme 7: Non-human actors in development and poverty reduction


12.30 - 13.30



13.60 - 16.00

Mekong-Ganga Dialogue: Networking Academic Cooperation






*Break will be served during session