NAY PI TAW, MYANMAR – Ministers attending the 20th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Ministerial Conference called for the mobilization of additional funding to fully implement a $30 billion pipeline of investment and technical assistance projects that will drive growth and infrastructure development in the subregion.
“The GMS Economic Cooperation Program’s work to improve transport infrastructure, expand energy access, and promote sustainable and inclusive development has paid enormous dividends for the subregion and its people,” said ADB Vice-President Stephen Groff. “Moving forward, the GMS will need to leverage greater resources, particularly private sector funds, to successfully execute its ambitious development agenda.”
At today’s conference, ministers also called for accelerated efforts to implement seamless cross-border transport and trade in the subregion, which along with improvements in power and telecommunications, are key building blocks for the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community.
Since its inception in 1992, the GMS Program has invested approximately $17 billion in projects covering subregional roads and transportation links, cross-border energy, tourism infrastructure, and communicable disease prevention.
The ministers’ remarks on the need for more infrastructure funding follow a recent agreement adopted by five Mekong nations and Japan to boost industrialization in the subregion. The agreement details policies needed to improve cross border trade and to develop special economic zones in border areas.
The ministers also endorsed a new framework for urban development in the GMS, with greater emphasis on green development, which complements the aims of the pending Sustainable Development Goals.
The GMS comprises Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.