The Mekong Thought Leadership and Think Tanks Network Program (MTT) has opened a call for its Rapid Response Grants.
The Mekong Thought Leadership and Think Tanks Network Program, supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), aims to work with national and regional knowledge-based policy influence organizations (KBPIOs) in the Mekong subregion to enhance their capacities to effectively engage stakeholders involved in policy processes.
The long-term goal of the program is to contribute to improved and more equitable water and energy security, adaptation, and mitigation of climate change in the Mekong Region for the benefit of all, especially the marginalized, vulnerable, and at-risk communities and social and gender groups. To do so, the program aims to contribute to more robust and more inclusive water, energy, and climate research and policy interfaces, resulting in more effective and equitable policies, which are cross-sectoral, informed by evidence, and are responding to the needs of climate vulnerable communities and socially marginalized or at-risk groups.
These groups include women and people from gender minorities, people living in multidimensional poverty, and people living with disabilities.
Rapid Response Grants are one of the key knowledge-generating activities of the MTT Program. These flexible grants support focused interdisciplinary research projects that seek practical solutions to urgent or emerging challenges in the water-energy-climate nexus. The rapid response grants are targeted to improve understanding of how climate resilience of specific water and energy systems, equity, and their interlinkages may be enhanced. The Rapid Response Grants operationalize this through reinterpreting, integrating, sharing, and using existing policy-relevant research to engage governments, the public, and stakeholders, in practical solutions.
Water-Energy-Climate challenges in the Mekong
- The demands of water and energy for socio-economic development are increasing and competition among the sectors nationally and between Mekong countries is rising. There are numerous development challenges facing the Mekong Region influenced by climate change and the pandemic, including national and global food security associated with sea level rise in mega-deltas of Asia, triggering new poverty traps and emerging hotspots of hunger to potential conflicts over transboundary water resources. These changes have been at the expense of natural resources and local communities with growing levels of inequality.
- The outcomes—and justice relating to energy, water and climate—are also directly affected by inclusion and equity (or the lack of) in decision-making processes. Policymakers tend to be largely men in these sectors in the Mekong region. Women tend to be, directly or indirectly, excluded from decision-making due to gender-related norms and barriers, especially women from already marginalized social groups such as ethnic minorities, Indigenous groups, or women living with disabilities. As such, mainstreaming Gender Equality, Disability, and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) into the Water- Energy-Climate policies and planning processes in the Mekong Countries at national and regional levels is also a key challenge to lead to more equitable and sustainable GEDSI outcomes in the region.
Areas of Rapid Response
- To address the above interconnected, socio-technical-policy WEC challenges in the Mekong region, the applicant shall select one of the following rapid response areas:
- Strengthening policy frameworks to address Water-Energy-Climate challenges more equitably and effectively at national or local scales.
- Enhancing synergies between water and/or energy security in remote rural areas to cope with the impacts of climate change equitably and effectively.
- Improving the equity and efficiency of integrated water and energy systems through technical and social innovations.
- Decentralizing renewable electricity for equitably supply power and reduce climate change and water insecurity risks.
- Building resilience and adaptive capacity of the poorest, marginalized, and climate- vulnerable groups to manage water and energy systems at national or local scales.
- Equitably building ecosystem resilience and/or sustainable fisheries and livelihoods to deal with the impacts of climate change, water, and energy infrastructure development.
- Enabling more inclusive and responsive disaster risk reduction i.e., flood, drought, landslide, and riverbank erosion through an equity-oriented, WEC nexus approach.
- Shifting from token to impactful GEDSI in water and/or energy transitions.
- Other areas that clearly contribute to address water, energy, climate and equity challenges may be proposed with strong justification.
Funding and Duration
- Funding support will not exceed AUD 50,000 (USD 33,000) per project and can completed within one year after the start of the project (or by December 2024, whichever earlier).
- Report on Rapid Response grant project.
- Practical solutions to support the needs of target users.
- At least two communication products.
Who can apply?
- Consortium of KBPIOs and experts whose works focus on the Mekong Region can apply to this call for applications.
- The project team should be gender-balanced in its composition, including in the leadership aspects. Social diversity is strongly encouraged, including the inclusion of people who identify as being from social or gender minorities and those living with disabilities.
- Project Lead Applicant:
- Lead Applicant is a regional or national KBPIO based in one of four Mekong countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand or Vietnam).
- The Lead Applicant needs to demonstrate institutional capacity and experience necessary to direct the proposed rapid response project and to actively lead the consortium to ensure rapid response project implementation through to completion.
- The Lead Applicant that provides opportunities for young professionals, people with disabilities, and gender-diverse persons within its organization to contribute to the research and policy engagement work and/or develop their capacities is encouraged to apply.
- Project Consortium Member:
- Consortium Member is an individual expert or KBPIO based within or outside Mekong Region.
- Consortium Member individual or organization needs to demonstrate capacity in the topics/theme of the proposed rapid response project and/or in engagement with relevant national/local policy processes identified by the project.
- Consortium Members that work with young professionals, people with disabilities, and gender-diverse persons are encouraged to apply.
For more information, visit Stockholm Environment Institute.