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Consultant / Consulting Firm - Study On Connectivity Issues for enhancing coordination among the Mekong-Lancang Countries



Project Name:            “Capacity Building for National Coordinators of Mekong-Lancang Cooperation”

Assignment Title:      Study on Connectivity Issues for enhancing coordination among  the Mekong-Lancang Countries

Category:                   Consultancy Services

Duration:                    February 10, 2020 – April 15, 2020

Duty Station:              (i) Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand; (ii) Field visits to Mekong-Lancang Countries; and (iii) Home-based

I. Introduction

The Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) is a sub-regional cooperation mechanism tailored by the six GMS countries, which includes Cambodia, People’s Republic of China (PRC), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam according to their common needs. Since its official establishment in 2016, the six-member countries have shown effective coordination and maintained close high-level exchanges, strengthened political dialogues and communications, carried out cooperation in law enforcement, security and non-traditional security areas. The MLC framework focuses on three main pillars: (i) public policy and security cooperation, (ii) economic and sustainable development cooperation, and (iii) social, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges.

The founding documents for MLC, in particular, the Sanya Declaration and the Phnom Penh Declaration, clearly affirm MLC’s support for the ASEAN Community building. The MLC thus closely coordinates with the ASEAN Community Vision 2015 and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.

. The Five-Year Plan of Action on MLC (2018-2022) was approved in 2018. Progress in the implementation of MLC has indeed been swift. The institutionalization process of MLC progressed rapidly with the setting-up of National MLC Secretariats within the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of each of the countries in 2017. A multi-layered planning and decision framework including LMC leaders’ meetings, Foreign Ministers’ meetings, Senior Officials’ meetings, and Diplomatic Joint Working Groups meetings and priority areas joint working groups’ meetings have organized and fine-tuned to improve policy planning and cooperation coordination, and guide long-term strategic planning.

At the programming and strategic level, joint working groups (JWG) meetings of line ministries on each of the five priority areas are tasked to discuss plans in their area of expertise. Once a year, these joint working groups meet with joint diplomatic working groups to discuss and prepare plans and strategies for future MLC cooperation, and to review progress and experience under MLC. ML Connectivity JWG set up by ML Countries to formulate the Plan on Connectivity Cooperation between the ML Countries by synergizing with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 (MPAC 2025). As a result, the draft on the MLC Connectivity “Plan on Connectivity Cooperation between Mekong-Lancang Countries (2020-2035)”proposed in Connectivity JWG.

Mekong Institute is implementing a project on “Capacity Building for National Coordinators of Mekong-Lancang Cooperation” (MLC) to enhance effective coordination of the regional cooperation mechanisms, update plans and programs on MLC. The project is funded by the Lancang – Mekong Cooperation Special Fund and is implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Thailand and stakeholders from the six Mekong-Lancang countries.

As part of the project activity, MI is seeking the services of a consultant to conduct a study on transport connectivity issues in the Lancang Mekong region and provide recommendations for effective coordination amongst the stakeholders. In general, the study aims to improve knowledge of the officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs as well as key Ministries in MLC national coordination unit on Connectivity issues and suggest the way forward for greater coordination as the LM National Coordinators and concerned Line Ministries to coordinate projects and programs on connectivity in the  ML region.

II. Broad Objectives

The overall objective is to make an assessment of the connectivity plans and programs under the ML cooperation framework. The connectivity issues among the six ML countries will be studied to suggest measures for any improvement through ML cooperation mechanism. Similarly, the on-going programs namely GMS, Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, ACMECS Master Plan (2019-2023) will be referred to identify plans and programs so as to identify areas for synergies in coordination among the LM member states.

The study will be conducted to gather relevant information, identify key issues and capacity building needs of the institutions involved in the MLC program on connectivity to improve their knowledge and understanding of connectivity issues and suggest measures for effective coordination among the agencies.


The specific study objectives are to:

  • Identify and analyze the regional connectivity program under the MLC framework focussing on the LM connectivity plan in relation to ASEAN connectivity and other sub-regional plans (ACMECS) to identify the projects and programs and status of the projects. Herein the study will focus on the LM connectivity priorities on railway, road, waterways, aviation ports, and IT (cross border e-commerce and digital connectivity);
  • Identify and obtain information on the current development projects on connectivity under MLC and the other regional frameworks in terms of (i) development partners; (ii) countries; (iii) sectors; (iv) priorities; (v) implementation status; and (vi) connectivity results;
  • Review to  highlight issues, bottlenecks and institutional shortcomings, as well as, the lesson learned on completed or/and on-going projects, best practices and achievement;
  • Suggest appropriate measures to enhance coordination mechanisms in the connectivity sector of the MLC framework in terms of (i) Synergy between and among MLC countries with other existing regional frameworks so as to identify complementaries and areas of cooperation; (ii) Needs of MLC coordinating agencies with regards to capacity development.

Scope of Work and Deliverables:

  • The study covers areas of priorities ML connectivity plan e.g. railway, road, waterway, ports, aviation and IT (cross border e-commerce and digital connectivity) analysis in the MLC countries and those under the other frameworks;
  • Conduct in-depth analysis and the fact-finding result of connectivity in the LMC countries in line with the broad and specific study objectives;
  • Make general assessments of the projects under MLC Framework (Plan on connectivity cooperation between Mekong-Lancang Countries), identify coordination process at all level of cooperation and identify the linkage with other regional cooperation frameworks e.g. ACMECS, GMS, to further contribute towards ASEAN Connectivity;
  • Make an assessment to identify key issues, bottlenecks and institutional shortcomings, as well as, the lesson learned on completed or/and on-going projects, best practices and achievement;
  • Provide concrete recommendations to enhance coordination among the agencies involved in the ML cooperation framework and other sub-regional frameworks on regional connectivity;
  • Identify capacity building needs for the agencies involved in ML cooperation on Connectivity.


  • The specific deliverables in line with the study objectives are required as follows:
    • Conduct half-day National Consultation Workshops to obtain key information from the National Ministries who related to Connectivity Cooperation under MLC Framework by preparing meeting format/ agenda including concept note for in all six ML Countries;
    • Conduct key informants interviews in the ML Countries, as well as, collect relevant secondary information;
    • Analyse plans and projects on LMC connectivity cooperation while assessing other sub-regional frameworks including GMS program, ACMECS, ASEAN connectivity master plan on their progress and achievements thereof; so as to identify complementaries and areas of cooperation to mobilise resources, and etc.;
    • Analyse  connectivity cooperation to understand inter-agencies coordination among MLC countries to identify issues, bottleneck and institutional capacities;
    • Analyse the need for enhancing effective coordination among the agencies to support LMC connectivity plans and programs;
    • Identify capacity development as the national priorities of the MLC countries;
    • Analyse the information to draft the report. The draft report will be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand for review and comments;
    • Conduct the dissemination workshop at MI to share the study results to validate in the Workshop;
    • Prepare the final report for submission to MI.


  • The study report includes:
  • Study Plan
  • Inception Report
  • Draft Study Report
  • Final Report. 
  • PPT for presentation to MI 
  • PPT for Dissemination Workshop



The Consultant is required to develop a methodological approach within the study timeframe from February to March 2020.


Approach and methodology will be employed in a practical manner. In this connection, the Consultant is requested to introduce appropriate tools and technique to effectively implement the study. The Consultant will conduct the followings:

  • Desk review to understand and assessment, mechanism for coordination but not limited to: (i) plan on Connectivity Cooperation between ML Countries (2020-2035) of MLC, (ii) ACMECS Master Plan (2019-2023), (iii) GMS Regional Investment Framework (GMS-RIF) 2013-2022, (iv) Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025;
  • Key informants interview to obtain and update information as stated in the broad objectives and specific study objectives;
  • National consultation workshops format with national coordinators and key ministry representing Connectivity Cooperation to understand inter-agencies coordination and with MLC countries;
  • Identify and prioritize on Connectivity issues in MLC countries which have a wider impact on the sub-region;
  • Analysis of best practices, learning, regional impact, achievement, and issues of coordination and cooperation among the MLC countries on various dimensions;
  • Preparing a draft study report and final report;  
  • Facilitate a dissemination workshop to share and validate the study results and finalize the study on the basis of comments received from MI and the dissemination workshop.


Based on the tentative time schedule outlined in the ToR, the Consultant is requested to prepare a detailed work plan to fully conduct and complete all activities within the set timeframe (February- March 2020):





Tentative Timeframe


Desk Study

Week I


Review of the required documents as mentioned at Inception and Desk Study

Home Based




Study Plan and Implementation

Mekong Institute (MI)



Week 2-5


Propose and finalization of semi-structured interview questions (and other questions)

Home Based



National consultation meetings / Workshop in six ML countries

Mekong-Lancang Countries



Data analysis and Report 1st drafting 

(MI reviewed and given consultant feedback for development)

Home Based



Final Report and Submission

Week 5-8


Submit 2nd draft to MI for review

Home Based



PPT presentation to MI

Mekong Institute (MI)



PPT presentation in a “dissemination workshop in Khon Kaen, Thailand” to MFA officials and representatives of MLC coordination units and other key ministries in MLC countries

Mekong Institute (MI)



Final report and report submission to MI for review and approval

Home Based

March 2020



The total lump-sum amount of this consultancy service is US$ 10,000. The payment schedule is as follows:

  • 10% of the total value is paid upon signing a contractual agreement;
  • 50% of the total value is made upon submission of the report by the Consultant; and
  • 40% of the total as final payment is made upon acceptance of the final report and the PPT by MI.

MI shall facilitate the consultant to carry out fieldwork activities and meetings with the project stakeholders in the six countries, namely Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

For the fieldwork, MI will arrange land and air transport and accommodations for consultant’s travel to the selected locations. The consultant shall cover her/his meals costs.



The Consultant is required to submit an updated CV and a study proposal that contains a consultant’s understanding of the project, a description of the proposed methodology for the assignment with the work plan, , qualifications and related information that the Consultant will make available to execute the assignment. The Proposal and CV should be submitted to MI not later than February 10, 2020.



The selection of the Constant for this assignment is based on the following criteria:

  • PhD or Postgraduate Degree in Transport Management, Economics, Management Science or related subject with experience in conducting large scale studies involving fieldwork;
  • Knowledge of Connectivity issues with reference to ASEAN, GMS or ML cooperation;
  • Experience in working with the national and local government authorities, private sector stakeholders in the MLC countries;
  • Excellent writing skills, experience in report writing is preferred;
  • Fluency in English, clear communication, and good interpersonal skills.  



For any queries regarding the assigned consultancy services, please contact TIF Department:

Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta

Director, Trade and Investment Facilitation Department

Tel: (+66) 43 202 411 (Ext: 2101)

Fax: Fax: (+66) 43 343 131


Ms. Nopparuth Ruengrangskul

Project Consultant, Trade and Investment Facilitation Department

Tel: (+66) 43 202 411 (Ext: 2112)

Fax: Fax: (+66) 43 343 131



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