Thailand and Lao PDR enjoy close and wide ranging cooperation in political, economic, social and cultural domains. In addition to long-standing ties and common borders, both countries share similar challenges and vulnerabilities, especially those related to natural disasters. Lao PDR and Thailand frequently experience droughts, storms, floods, heatwaves and other meteorological events that have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable populations and their livelihoods.
This meeting will be the first of a series of meeting among Mekong countries to enhance national and cross-border cooperation between national societies and their governments through development of cross-border contingency plans that would take into consideration multi-causal effects of disasters, including mass movement of populations.
While building on the successes of bilateral processes between Lao and Thai Red Cross and taking stock of the outcomes of the first coordination meeting, the proposed cross-border contingency planning process aims to support Lao and Thailand Red Cross Societies to move forward on bilateral cooperation in a coherent and comprehensive manner. The expected outputs of the process are to:
- Enhance understanding of external risks pertinent to both countries (mapping of external environment with a special focus on hazards, risks, challenges and vulnerabilities of the most vulnerable groups of population, including migrants;
- Develop scenarios for joint response, especially related to environmental hazards around the Mekong River for possible cross- border movements;
- To prepare a comprehensive response plan that will take into consideration identified external risks as well as response capacities of the border branches;
- Further, the process is expected to foster in-country and cross-border cooperation between National Societies and the respective government agencies (NDMO, border authorities etc.).