MANILA, PHILIPPINES - ADB's updated regional cooperation strategy for the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) proposes indicative lending totaling US$1.565 billion over the three years 2007-2009.
The final amount is subject to the availability of resources, the result of country performance assessments, and the outcome of discussion for the next replenishment of ADB's concessional lending instrument, the Asian Development Fund, among others.
"ADB will continue to focus on establishing cross-border physical infrastructure and related policy and regulatory reforms, and addressing shared concerns on issues such as communicable diseases and transboundary environmental issues," says Rajat M. Nag, Director General of ADB's Southeast Asia Department as well as Special Advisor to the President in charge of regional economic cooperation and integration.
ADB's strategy is in line with the commitment of GMS leaders to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by focusing subregional initiatives more directly on the poor, combating communicable diseases, and ensuring environmental sustainability. The strategy also takes into account ADB's priorities under the second Medium Term Strategy (MTS II) (2006-2008) and the recent Regional Cooperation and Integration (RCI) Strategy.
MTS II identifies regional cooperation and integration as one of ADB's five strategic priorities for achieving its overarching goal of poverty reduction. In the RCI Strategy, approved in July, ADB's support for the GMS program was cited as a showcase example of its involvement in promoting subregional cooperation among its developing member countries.
The indicative lending program covers broad areas of investment, including power interconnection and transmission, subregional roads and highways, sustainable tourism development, and flood management and mitigation.
The indicative grant program for the three-year period totals $16.2 million and consists of 19 projects, including 10 for investment project preparation and nine to support advisory, research, and coordination work in the subregion.
Since 1992, ADB has extended $1.8 billion of loans for 26 investment projects for the GMS, in transportation, energy, health, and tourism. Also, 125 technical assistance projects with a total cost of about $148 million have been completed or are under way, financing advisory work, project preparation, and coordination functions for the GMS Program.
The six GMS member countries are Cambodia, the People's Republic of China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.