ADB Gives GMS Skills Development Project Further $1.4 Million

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is giving further assistance to an ongoing Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) technical assistance project designed to give civil servants the skills to manage and promote regional cooperation and integration activities.

ADB is providing a $1.4 million grant from its Technical Assistance Special Fund for the fourth phase of the Phnom Penh Plan for Development Management. The People’s Republic of China is providing a supplementary grant of $500,000 from its Regional Cooperation and Poverty Reduction Fund, for a total cost of $1.9 million. The plan was launched at the first summit meeting of GMS ministers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2002, and its success prompted requests for support for additional phases.

GMS countries need civil servants to manage wide-ranging development programs and to establish an appropriate policy environment for regional cooperation, but they have limited capacity to provide such management skills. The plan provides tailored learning modules which give officials the necessary knowledge and skills to develop public policy, manage development programs, and promote regional cooperation. So far over 1,365 junior, midlevel, and senior GMS officials have benefited.

“Developing GMS civil servants' capacity in leadership, public policy formulation and implementation, and development management will enhance the meaningful and effective participation of GMS governments in regional cooperation initiatives,” said Alfredo Perdiguero, Senior Economist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.

The fourth phase will provide further intensive 1-2 week learning programs, as well as fellowship grants for non-degree programs lasting 3-6 weeks at leading global institutions. GMS development dialogue sessions will be held to promote knowledge acquisition, dissemination and networking. A research program launched in phase 3 will be continued, while greater focus will be put on monitoring and evaluating project management and performance outcomes.

ADB is the executing agency for the latest phase, which will be implemented over 2 years with a completion date of March 2012.