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GMS ministers endorse 5-year action plan

Released at: 16:16, 20/09/2017

GMS ministers endorse 5-year action plan

The 22nd GMS Ministerial Conference opens in Hanoi on September 20 (Source: cafef,vn)

Plan includes projects worth $64 billion in Greater Mekong Sub-region.

by Linh San

Ministers from the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) have endorsed a five-year action plan that includes $64 billion in projects to help the sub-region achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development.

GMS members are Cambodia, China (specifically Yunnan province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Vietnam entered the program in 1992, with assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), to enhance economic relations. Under the program, investment projects worth more than $19.1 billion have so far been undertaken.

“Although ADB facilitated the process, the initiative was driven by the countries themselves, with a sharp focus on joint action to address common challenges,” said ADB Vice President Stephen Groff. “The GMS Program has been guided by the 3Cs: connectivity, competitiveness, and community. This overarching approach to regional development produced significant results.”

Ministers at the 22nd GMS Ministerial Conference celebrated 25 years of economic cooperation, acknowledging the achievements of a program that has created a strong bond of openness, mutual trust, and shared commitment.

The ministers welcomed the preparation of the Hanoi Action Plan (HAP) 2018-2022, which calls for an expansion of economic corridors to boost connectivity between countries as well as within rural and urban centers to ensure a more equitable distribution of the benefits of economic growth. They also endorsed the GMS Regional Investment Framework 2022, to support the HAP through a pipeline of 222 investment and technical assistance projects valued at $64 billion. The ministers urged greater engagement of development partners and the private sector to meet financing requirements in the GMS.

They expressed strong support for a new GMS Transport Sector Strategy that aims to build a seamless, efficient, reliable, and sustainable transport network. This will be achieved through improvements to the sub-region’s links with South Asia and other parts of Southeast Asia, better cross-border transport, strengthened intermodal transport links and logistics development, and enhanced road safety.

The GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025 was also endorsed, enabling more competitive, balanced, and sustainable destination development. The ministers welcomed the progress towards the formal establishment of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office as an intergovernmental organization.

In agriculture, they welcomed the endorsement by the Second GMS Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting of a strategy to promote safe and environmentally-friendly agriculture products, and a plan to strengthen value chain integration involving smallholder farmers, rural women, and small and medium-sized agriculture enterprises.

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