Speaking at the 22nd Ministerial Meeting on the GMS Programme in Hanoi on September 20, the minister said Vietnam is mobilising capital resources from international organisations, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to materialise high-priority projects to which Vietnam is a participant by integrating the GMS’s priority programmes and projects into programmes funded by foreign donors.
Vietnam will continue to closely coordinate with other GMS countries, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other development partners, including the private sector, to achieve targets set by the GMS Programme, he said.
ADB Vice-President Stephen Groff said although ADB facilitated the process, the initiative was driven by the countries themselves, with a sharp focus on joint action to address common challenges.
The GMS Programme has been guided by the 3 Cs: connectivity, competitiveness, and community, he said, adding that this overarching approach to regional development produced significant results.
The participating ministers used this occasion to celebrate 25 years of GMS economic cooperation, acknowledging the achievements of the programme in creating a strong bond of openness, mutual trust and shared commitment.
They 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 centres to ensure a more equitable distribution of the benefits of economic growth.
The plan will be submitted to the 6th GMS Summit slated for March 2018 in Vietnam for consideration and approval.
The minister also endorsed the GMS Regional Investment Framework 2022 to support the HAP through a pipeline of 222 investment and technical assistance projects valued at US$64 billion.
The ministers urged greater engagement of development partners and private sector to meet financing requirements in the GMS.
They extended strong support for a new GMS Transport Sector Strategy that aims to build a seamless, efficient, reliable, and sustainable GMS transport system.
This will be achieved through the improvement of 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, as well as enhanced road safety.
The GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2016-2025 was also endorsed to enable more competitive, balanced, and sustainable destination development. The ministers welcomed the progress towards the formal establishment of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office as an inter-governmental organisation.
The six countries — Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam— entered the GMS Programme in 1992, with assistance from the ADB, aiming to enhance economic relations.
Under the programme, investment projects worth more than US$19.1 billion have so far been undertaken, according to the ADB.