Vientiane, Lao PDR, 30 April 2024 — Today, the Secretariats of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Mekong River Commission have launched a technology competition that will challenge university students from the 10 ASEAN countries to showcase their innovation and problem-solving skills to tackle one of the region’s pressing issues: flash floods. 

ASEAN is the third-largest region globally, making up 8.4% of the world’s population, with a combined Gross Domestic Product exceeding USD 3.3 trillion. This positions it as the third-largest economy in Asia and the fifth-largest globally.

As the region grows, it grapples with disasters, such as floods and droughts, which not only wreak havoc on property but also claim lives. Although satellite data can forecast rainfall, real-time ground-based monitoring technology is lagging behind in validating flash floods.

“Through the competition, we’re empowering the next generation of innovators to tackle urgent issues of flash floods in our region using home-grown technology,” said Dr Anoulak Kittikhoun, Chief Executive Officer of the MRC Secretariat. “It is a testament to the power of collaboration and the potential of young generations to drive meaningful change, for themselves and for our communities.”

The competition, running from April to November, will challenge participants to design sensors capable of gathering real-time data and issuing alerts from various environments prone to flash flooding – from urban areas, rivers, and mountainous regions. These innovative prototypes will undergo evaluation alongside submissions from teams throughout the region, against four criteria: accuracy, durability, innovation, and cost-effectiveness.

The competition is merit-based and welcomes participation from all undergraduate and graduate students at ASEAN universities. To join, students must form their team, ideally consisting of at least two members from the same university, with at least one female member.

Contestants are invited to submit their application online no later than 16 June 2024 via this link: More information is available here:

Last year, the MRC held a similar competition but only for students from the four Mekong countries. It spotlighted innovative river monitoring technology and emphasized youth’s crucial role in advancing sustainable development efforts. This success fuels inspiration for this year’s competition, showing the far-reaching potential impact it can have.




Note to editors:

The Mekong River Commission is an intergovernmental organization established in 1995 for regional dialogue and cooperation in the Lower Mekong River Basin. Based on the Mekong Agreement between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, the Commission serves as a regional platform for water diplomacy as well as a knowledge hub of water resources management for the sustainable development of the region.