Development cooperation in the Mekong region, including country-level cooperation in Cambodia, Lao PDR and recently also in Myanmar, has been governed in the Finnish Embassy in Bangkok for decades. The development cooperation has focused particularly on natural resources (water, forests), environment, land rights, renewable energy and development of the rural areas. The cooperation has been conducted by supporting human rights and rule of law development. In addition, major emphasis of the cooperation has been on facilitating the transboundary cooperation and the integration of the Mekong countries.
The cuts of appropriations allocated for Finland's development cooperation from 2012 and centralisation of the development cooperation to fewer, selected countries has led to a reorganisation of the Finnish development cooperation activities in the Mekong area. The significant and broad reforms in Myanmar have made it a priority country of Finnish development cooperation in South-East Asia. The Finnish development cooperation investments to Myanmar have been on a constant rise and the first 10-year cooperation strategy between Finland and Myanmar was finished in the beginning of 2015. Furthermore, an independent development cooperation team will be founded to the Liaison Office in Yangon working under the Embassy in Bangkok by autumn 2015. Other regional development cooperation programmes have been gradually moved under the Finnish Embassy in Hanoi, Viet Nam in 2014-2015.
From now on, the Embassy in Bangkok will no more monitor development cooperation in Myanmar or in the Mekong region.
Myanmar: Maria Suokko (firstname.lastname@example.org), Finland's Liaison Office in Yangon
Mekong regional programme (including Lao PDR): Marko Saarinen (email@example.com), Embassy of Finland in Hanoi