Statement by Ahmed M. Saeed, ADB Vice-President Operations 2, at the 27th IMT-GT Ministerial Meeting, 6 August 2021

Your Excellency Airlangga Hartarto, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia
Your Excellency, Dato’ Sri Mustapa Bin Mohamed, Minister of Prime Minister Department (Economy), Malaysia 
Your Excellency Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Minister of Finance, The Kingdom of Thailand
Your Excellency Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary General of ASEAN Secretariat

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is an honor for me to participate in the 27th IMT-GT Ministerial Meeting. I would like to thank the Government of Malaysia for the excellent meeting arrangements. It has been a difficult time for the subregion due to the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 crisis. However, IMT-GT did not lose sight of its cooperation agenda and has in fact laid the path to overcome the uncertainties in both medium and long terms. The successor Implementation Blueprint 2022-2026, being developed with ADB support, is guided by the long-term aspirations set out in IMT-GT Vision 2036 and builds on achievements and lessons of the current Implementation Blueprint 2017-2021.  

ADB continues to provide unwavering support to our developing member countries as they confront and recover from the pandemic. Our $20 billion COVID-19 assistance package includes quick-disbursing budget support under our COVID-19 Pandemic Response Option, or CPRO. This support includes $1.5 billion each for Indonesia and Thailand. We are also helping our member countries, including Indonesia, procure and deliver safe and effective vaccines through our $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access facility, or APVAX. ADB’s Trade Finance and Supply Chain Finance Programs is also supporting private sector in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand fill trade market gaps and rejuvenate medical and pharmaceutical supply chains. 

As we look ahead, I see priority areas that IMT-GT can consider in shaping its successor Implementation Blueprint 2022-2026 based on ADB’s experience and expertise. 

Expanding IMT-GT economic corridors and strengthening special economic zones (SEZ) can contribute to vibrant post-pandemic recovery. ADB’s analytical work to reconfigure IMT-GT’s economic corridors and strengthen SEZ cooperation puts forward strategic and enabling actions to boost trade, sustain supply chains, attract quality and investment, generate employment, and build economic resilience in an inclusive manner.  

ADB is ready to assist tourism revival efforts guided by the ADB-supported IMT-GT tourism strategic framework and drawing from the experience of the Greater Mekong Subregion. Implementation of integrated plans for key IMT-GT tourism destinations needs to be fast-tracked to enhance livability of cities by improving mobility, creating healthier public spaces, and adopting green design principles.  

It became clear during the pandemic that the sustainable development goals (SDGs) must be a core component of a recovery strategy. ADB remains committed to working with IMT-GT to tackle climate change and achieve the SDGs by deepening work on green cities development, green transport solutions, safeguarding oceans, and promoting blue economies. IMT-GT has been pursuing green recovery under its Green Cities Initiative and more innovative and bankable solutions are needed. The ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility, under the ADB-administered ASEAN Infrastructure Fund, helps mobilize public and private financing for infrastructure to promote environmental sustainability and contribute to combating climate change. Through the ACGF, ADB is supporting Thailand and Indonesia in green, social and sustainability bond issuance. 

 ADB continues to provide knowledge and capacity building via the BIMP-EAGA, IMT-GT, and GMS (or B-I-G) Capacity Building Program. The Policy Actions for COVID-19 Economic Recovery (PACER) Dialogues identified transformative strategies to accelerate economic recovery and rejuvenation. 
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us continue working together to achieve a sustainable, inclusive, and integrated IMT-GT. Collectively, let us define a new normal that is both pandemic-ready and climate-resilient for the subregion and its people. Thank you.