USAID and Australia Mekong Safeguards Program Thailand High-Speed Rail Social Safeguards Project

USAID and Australia Mekong Safeguards Program Thailand High-Speed Rail Social Safeguards Project

April 2022

Introduction

The USAID and Australia Mekong Safeguards Program (Mekong Safeguards), implemented by The Asia Foundation (TAF), is a five-year, $10.6 million project working with major banks, governments, and developers in Thailand, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Myanmar, and China on large energy and transportation infrastructure investments to strengthen environmental and social standards and practices in Southeast Asia’s Mekong subregion. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the program is an exciting opportunity to support new and improved ways governments, financiers, developers, and civil society organisations can invest and build sustainable energy and transportation.

An ongoing Mekong Safeguards activity is conducting empirical research on the views and perceptions of local communities and stakeholders on the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) high-speed railway project development by use of surveys, informant interviews, and focus group discussions. Due to begin service in the next few years, the high-speed railway project is the first phase of the Bangkok–Nong Khai high-speed railway, also known as the Northeastern high-speed rail line, the first high-speed line in Thailand and a constituent part of the Kunming–Singapore railway central section. 

Building on findings from ongoing empirical research to be completed in April 2022, Mekong Safeguards is seeking a qualified consultant or firm to conduct the next phase of research and surveys on communities along the high-speed railway project development. The research will be approximately 10 months long (tentatively from June 2022 to April 2023). Mekong Safeguards will utilise research and engagement data to develop and adopt impactful safeguards to reduce negative social impact to communities and vulnerable populations related to the ongoing deployment of the Bangkok-Korat high-speed railway development. With the guidance of Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, once the project is completed, Mekong Safeguards will host a dialogue with line ministries and their subordinate authorities to introduce the work and technical assistance opportunities including capacity building to adopt recommended safeguard measures.

Figure 1: Key stations on the Bangkok – Nong Khai High Speed Railway. 

Objectives

To support Mekong Safeguards on conducting research and surveys on communities along the Thailand Bangkok-Korat high-speed railway project development, the research objectives are:

1. To identify relevant local communities adversely affected by the Bangkok-Korat high-speed railway project development in three provinces (Ayutthaya, Saraburi, and Korat)

2. To understand and analyse community knowledge, perceptions, and problems about project construction 

3. To develop and adopt policy recommendations for safeguards supporting adversely affected communities along the Bangkok-Korat high-speed railway project

Required Tasks

Under Mekong Safeguards’ supervision, the consultant/firm shall be responsible for, but not limited to, the following tasks, subject to the discussion and approval of Mekong Safeguards:

• Develop and discuss with Mekong Safeguards a research study plan outlining research methodology, key stakeholders involved, key research and key informant interviews, focus group discussion questions, and timeline.

• Conduct survey(s) in Ayutthaya, Saraburi, and Korat to identify relevant local communities adversely affected by the Bangkok-Korat high-speed railway project.

• Collect data and analyse community knowledge, perceptions, and problems about the project construction. The data collection shall include, but not limited to, survey questionnaires and focus groups. 

• Write a mid-term report summarising the data collection.

• Write a final report for the Thailand High-Speed Rail Social Safeguards Project (HSRS) including survey and data analysis findings and policy recommendations for safeguards supporting adversely affected communities. Mekong Safeguards may request the consultant/firm to revise the report addressing feedback from USAID, DFAT, and/or other stakeholders.  

• Participate in virtual meetings and event(s) organised by Mekong Safeguards anticipated once every 2-3 months. Mekong Safeguards may request the consultant/firm to present research findings at 2-3 events. The decision will be subject to Mekong Safeguards’ approval and the government’s COVID guidance and travel restrictions.  

Deliverables

1. Delivery dates are adjustable as agreed by Mekong Safeguards and the awarded consultant/firm. Dates in parentheses are estimations based on the contract being signed in May 2022.

Duration

• Ten months (tentatively from June 2022 to April 2023)

Required Compliance

The selected consultant/firm will be required to ensure compliance with all USAID and/or DFAT branding and that any USAID and/or DFAT logos used are the correct sizes and positions. The USAID Graphic Standards Manual and Partner Co-Branding Guide is available here.

How to Apply

Interested consultants and/or firms please email us at mekong.safeguards@asiafoundation.org no later than June 3. In the email, please include the proposal for this service along with quotation and company profile and in the subject, please indicate ‘Announcement Thailand HSRS’. 

(Only short-listed candidates will be notified.)

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