In April, the SMMR project will facilitate a Joint Visioning Workshop of officials and civil society from Vientiane and Nong Khai for the development of the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. The facilitators of the visioning workshop will be committed officers of the ministries and provincial administrations.
In August 2019, at the first Thai-Lao stakeholder dialogue, both sides had agreed to jointly a vision for developing the First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge into an intermodal hub for sustainable transport. The secretary-general of ISOCARP, the International Society of City and Regional Planners, Frank D’hondt presented the workshop concept at a visit to both cities in October 2019. He recommended meeting for three days in a constructive spirit to brainstorm innovative ideas for transforming the border crossing from an obstacle to a facilitator for cross-border transport. A suggestion both sides gladly took on.
At the preparatory workshop, in February, the future facilitators discussed the scope with Mr D’hondt. They prepared the steps of the workshop with minuscule detail to make the Visioning Workshop a transformative success. The stakeholders will work towards a Joint Visioning Declaration, which will serve as inspiration for the future roadmap of the bridge development. The workshop was complemented by a cooperative high-level meeting to identify remaining gaps and discuss how the results can be developed best to support the policy processes on both sides.