Bangkok – January15, 2023 – The Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), Ministry of Interior, advances the NTS-Mekong Watch project in its entirety to address emerging Non-Traditional Security (NTS) challenges in the Mekong region. The project focuses on promoting civic engagement by establishing the “NTS-Mekong Watch Coordination Center – NTS-MWCC” in 44 border districts between Thailand and Laos and Thailand and Cambodia. Simultaneously, the department introduced the website for online reporting of law violations, enhancing the convenience and speed of reporting incidents related to criminal activities in the border areas.

The Enhancing People -to- People Connectivity to Address Non-Traditional Security Challenges in the Mekong Region- (NTS-Mekong Watch) project, supported by the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF), under the management by Mekong Institute (MI) aims to foster cooperation at the regional level to address non-traditional security challenges in the Mekong region. The project focuses on transnational crime issues such as human trafficking, illegal drug transportation, and illegal migration, impacting both Thai citizens and neighboring countries. Under the Comprehensive Security Border Management approach, the project emphasizes civic engagement, involving local communities in addressing these challenges.

Mr. Unsit Sampantharat, Director-General of the Department of Provincial Administration, stated, “Developing border areas comprehensively, encompassing security, society, economy, and culture, is a crucial mission of the Ministry of Interior and the department to strengthen border regions, ensuring the well-being of citizens, strong communities, and sustainable living environments. NTS-Mekong Watch is our dedicated effort to manage border areas comprehensively and inclusively, focusing on civic engagement to empower local communities to address the non-traditional security challenges in the Mekong region.”

As part of the NTS-Mekong Watch project, the Department of Provincial Administration is actively engaging the public in reporting security incidents both offline and online:

Offline: Establishing the “NTS-Mekong Watch Coordination Center –(NTS-MWCC)” in 44 target districts across 17 provinces, which share borders with Laos and Cambodia. These centers serve as community-based coordination centers, allowing citizens to conveniently report law violations in border areas.

Online: Launching the website, providing another significant channel for citizens in all 44 districts to report incidents related to non-traditional security challenges. This online platform allows easy access to information for incident reporting, facilitating data compilation for subsequent verification and coordination with relevant agencies.

Beyond facilitating public participation in reporting security incidents, the NTS-Mekong Watch project emphasizes enhancing people-to-people connectivity in the Thai-Lao and Thai-Cambodian border areas. Through the Enhancing Mekong Linkage Workshop at Lao PDR and Cambodia, the leaders and officials from bordering districts have conducted SWOT analysis, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for collaborative development. The project encourages the establishment of “Building Strong Cross-Border Communities” as a best practice, fostering mutual understanding of laws and regulations in the border areas and promoting fair law enforcement to create a unified and secure living environment.

In 2024, the Department of Provincial Administration plans to execute the NTS-Mekong Watch project comprehensively. The focus will be on promoting NTS literacy and empowering officers and community leaders to become change agents in effectively dealing with NTS challenges. The project aims to create model areas for “Building Strong Cross-Border Communities” in various bordering regions, inviting leaders and citizens from Laos and Cambodia to visit Thai border districts. This initiative aims to strengthen cooperation, engage in social and cultural activities, and facilitate discussions on security cooperation.