Mekong Nations Gather to Chart Regional Cooperation for Next Decade

News Release | 18 August 2010

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Ministers from the six countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are holding a 16th Ministerial Meeting in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 20 August 2010 to discuss a new 10-year (2012-2022) framework for regional cooperation.

The representatives from Cambodia, People's Republic of China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, along with officials from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are also expected to endorse a plan of action to improve transport and trade facilitation which could help bolster economic growth in the wake of the global financial crisis. The meeting is centered on the theme: "GMS in the Next Decade: New Frontiers of Cooperation''.

Since 1992, the six GMS countries have participated in a comprehensive program of economic cooperation covering transport, energy, telecommunications, human resource development, environment and natural resources management, trade facilitation, private investment, tourism, and agriculture with the support of ADB and other development partners.

"In just one generation, Mekong nations have moved from conflict to economic cooperation, making dramatic progress in fighting poverty and fostering greater prosperity," said Kunio Senga, Director General in ADB's Southeast Asia Department.

Mr. Senga said the six countries should continue improving physical infrastructure, streamlining cross-border transactions and transport costs, strengthening the business environment, and ensuring adequate social and environmental protection in the subregion.

"With the foundation being established for the next decade, we expect the GMS countries to move their regional cooperation to even higher levels, including encompassing second-generation initiatives in software related to infrastructure connectivity," he said.

ADB promotes regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific to help developing countries address regional challenges and opportunities through collective actions. Such multi-country economic development efforts contribute to increased trade and investment and overall economic growth, while also improving regional stability.

ADB supports GMS nations' efforts to modernize through the construction of international-standard roads, ports, railways, power generation facilities, clean water and sanitation services. ADB also provides support for 'soft sector' enhancement, including trade and transport agreements, and it works with Mekong nations to enhance environmental protection measures, to support clean energy solutions, and to bolster climate change mitigation efforts.