8th IMT-GT Leaders' Summit

Remarks by ADB Vice-President Stephen P. Groff at the 8th IMT-GT Leaders' Summit at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on 11 May 2014

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you for inviting ADB to the 8th IMT-GT Leaders’ Summit in Nay Pyi Taw. I would like to thank the Government and people of Myanmar for the warm hospitality extended to the ADB delegation, and the Government of Thailand for the excellent arrangements for this Leaders’ Summit.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand on this 20th year anniversary of the IMT-GT, and for the individual and collective efforts of the member countries to sustain constructive dialogue, and promote cooperation. Considerable progress has been made in deepening cooperation over the last 20 years. With the continued support and guidance of Your Excellencies, and the increasingly active engagement of many stakeholders, IMT-GT will realize its goal of inclusive growth and accelerating economic transformation. ADB is honored to be a development partner of the IMTGT, and we are fully committed to supporting your future efforts to identify and implement priority projects and initiatives in the subregion.

In response to requests made by Your Excellencies at last year's Summit, ADB has provided varying levels of technical assistance across the different sectors of the IMT-GT program. ADB is currently undertaking studies, for the IMT-GT’s “signature” projects, including: developing Special Border Economic Zones at border areas between Malaysia and Thailand; assessing the feasibility of RoRo services to further connect the three IMT-GT countries; and preparing feasibility studies for the MelakaPekanbaru power interconnection project. We are pleased to report that ADB is working very closely with your Governments and other stakeholders to ensure timely delivery of these signature projects. We are confident that these studies and projects will further promote cooperation and connectivity in the IMT-GT subregion.

ADB is also supporting the IMT-GT Chief Ministers and Governors, and the communities of Medan, Melaka, and Songkhla, in their joint efforts to promote more livable and environmentally sustainable cities through the IMT-GT Green Cities Initiative. We are pleased to report that we have completed the Green Cities Action Plan Framework for Melaka, and will soon commence studies for Medan and Songkhla under this initiative.

We congratulate your newly established secretariat, the Center for IMT-GT (CIMT), for its excellent leadership and initial accomplishments. ADB continues to provide technical assistance to the CIMT in order to enhance its institutional capacity to efficiently function as a subregion secretariat, and to strengthen its institutional linkages with the ASEAN Secretariat. Together with CIMT, ADB has also developed an IMT-GT Project Manual to facilitate the design and implementation of priority projects under the IMT-GT Implementation Blueprint 2012-2016. We have also partnered with the CIMT to develop the IMT-GT Statistical Figures and Trends Booklet, which provides valuable information for governments, potential investors and the public on the economic progress and opportunities of the subregion.

One major task ahead of us, as we strive to deepen integration, is sustaining the momentum of cooperation in IMT-GT by leveraging past and recent gains, particularly in the area of connectivity. To further enhance connectivity, complementary measures are needed to facilitate transport and trade, improve logistics, and streamline customs, immigration and quarantine procedures. ADB stands ready to share its experience in these areas with IMT-GT, and draw upon lessons learned and best practices gained from our engagement with other subregional programs, such as the Greater Mekong Subregion and the BIMP-EAGA.

We are very pleased to note the increasingly active participation of states and provinces within IMT-GT. To ensure the long-term sustainability of the cooperation initiative, states and provinces, and especially the private sector, will need to increasingly step-up their engagement and participation, and sometimes assume a leadership role, in the identification, prioritization and implementation of cooperation projects and activities.

As requested by the Ministers, this year ADB is providing advisory assistance in the mid-term review of the IMT-GT Implementation Blueprint. An important objective of this mid-term review is to ensure that development strategies are being translated into a critical mass of interrelated projects that meaningfully contribute to desired development impacts, especially for the subregion’s poor and underprivileged. The mid-term review aims to further enhance the focus on projects and activities which have the greatest potential to uplift the quality of peoples’ lives and livelihoods in this dynamic subregion.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to conclude by thanking the Governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand for their continued confidence in ADB as IMT-GT’s Development Partner and Regional Advisor. Let me assure you of ADB’s continued support for this important and strategic subregional cooperation initiative.

Thank you.