In the Mekong region, the changes brought about by rapid economic development and investment pose many challenges for local communities. Building and strengthening access to justice is an essential part of promoting development in Mekong countries that is equitable, ecologically sustainable and inclusive of local needs and interests. The use of legal advocacy strategies in the Mekong is growing, as in other regions of the world, yet there is a need to engage the next generation of civil society leaders and lawyers in legal advocacy strategies and equip them with the skills and experience necessary to strengthen the voices of local people within legal processes.

Mekong youth leaders and junior lawyers have limited opportunities to study or undertake legal advocacy study or practice, so it is important to create opportunities to share the experiences of practitioners in the region who have successfully managed to do this kind of work in an effective way. Recognizing an increasing need for understanding legal advocacy, supporting access to justice and regional collaboration, EarthRights International (ERI) launched the Mekong Legal Advocacy Institute (MLAI) in 2009. ERI established MLAI to provide a forum for youth leaders and junior Mekong lawyers to share experiences, learn and develop new legal and advocacy strategies, and take effective coordinated action on environmental and social issues focused on strengthening decision-making around development projects. Central to this mission are periodic experience sharing sessions that bring in expert lawyers from the region to share skills and offer guidance in key areas of emerging law in the Mekong, such as environmental impact assessment (EIA), land rights, corporate accountability frameworks for outbound regional investors. 

Joining MLAI

MLAI is currently seeking youth leaders, NGO workers and junior lawyers from all six Mekong countries - Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Vietnam. If you are working on earth rights issues such as environmental or human rights, please fill out the attached application form and email it together with a one-page curriculum vitae to [email protected] and [email protected]. The deadline for applications is 14 October 2016.

The 2016 MLAI session will be held from  December 4, 2016 to  December 16, 2016 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. ERI will cover travel, food and accommodation costs of all selected participants. Participants are expected to be present on all of the training dates. Please see the MLAI experience sharing agenda outline for more detail. Please note that the agenda is likely to be subject to minor changes.

For inquiries, please feel free to send us an email.