Every three years, environment ministers from the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries gather to take stock of environment challenges and opportunities, and set the direction for regional responses under the GMS Economic Cooperation Program.
The Fourth GMS Environment Ministers’ Meeting (EMM4) will be held on 29 January 2015 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, and preceded by side events on 27 and 28 January. The EMM4 events are organized by the GMS Working Group on Environment (WGE) with the support of the Asian Development Bank-led Environment Operations Center (Secretariat to the WGE) and Myanmar's Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry. Funding is through the GMS Core Environment Program, the flagship environment initiative of the GMS Economic Cooperation Program.
The theme of EMM4 is “Increasing Investments in Natural Capital in the Greater Mekong Subregion”. Its objective is to take forward the call for green growth made by ministers at the Third Environment Ministers’ Meeting (Cambodia, 2011), and build on post Rio+20 momentum in the subregion.
Specifically, EMM4 will aim to garner high-level consensus and support from the GMS countries and stakeholders for scaling up efforts to protect and enhance natural capital to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in the GMS. The meeting is especially timely, occurring shortly after the 5th GMS Summit held in December 2014, when the Leaders of the GMS countries pledged to implement the Regional Investment Framework (RIF) Implementation Plan (2014 - 2018) that represents a pipeline of priority subregional projects valued at over $30 billion.
Knowledge sharing events will be held prior to the formal meeting of ministers. These include three parallel events on 27 January – a Biodiversity Landscapes Forum, Natural Capital Business Forum, and Youth Environment Meeting – and a Natural Capital Dialogue on 28 January. The events will bring together senior government officials and major environment stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of key issues, challenges, and solutions to unlock investments in natural capital within the context of the GMS Economic Cooperation Program. Specifically, these events will:
- Raise awareness about the value of natural capital within the context of sustainable and inclusive development of the subregion.
- Build consensus on the need to integrate natural capital considerations into subregional and national development planning and to scale up investments in natural capital.
- Identify opportunities and priority actions to increase natural capital investments.
- Identify effective and efficient partnerships for cross-sector and stakeholder coordination and collaboration to increase investments in natural capital at the subregional and national level.