Themed "Leveraging 25 years of cooperation, building an integrated, sustainable and prosperous GMS", the event aims to mark the 25th founding anniversary of the GMS and determine areas of cooperation for the establishment of a region of prosperity, integration, and sustainable development.
In his opening speech, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted the Mekong River as a natural resource connecting life and cross-cultural exchange, which symbolizes the prosperity of millions of people in the region.
Hundreds of projects with a total capitalization of US$21 billion have been carried out in many areas, ranging from transportation, energy, and telecommunications to trade, agriculture, and the environment. The projects have been given to overall partnership strategies with long-term visions such as the East-West Economic Corridor.
From an area of mostly underdeveloped countries in the last century, the GMS has now emerged as one of the world's fastest growing economic regions, actively integrated in the world economy and boasting a large, vibrant market with a rapidly growing middle class. The success of the GMS demonstrates the aspiration and determination to develop the Mekong region as one of peace, prosperity, and sustainable development for everyone, Phuc said.
He expressed his thanks to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and development partners for their valuable and effective support for the Mekong region and Vietnam as well.
Over the past 25 years, Vietnam has always valued and actively participated in GMS cooperation and the joint efforts to facilitate trade and investment, protect the environment and natural resources, and to respond to climate change.
There have been many projects demonstrating the effective connectivity between Vietnam and GMS countries such as the East-West Economic Corridor, bridges linking the Mekong Delta, the Southern Coastal Corridor and the Noi Bai-Lao Cai-Van Nam Highway, he said.
PM Phuc affirmed that Vietnam will continue to promote effective GMS cooperation in order to fully exploit the potential of the Mekong region and warned that the GMS is entering a new stage of development with unprecedented opportunities and challenges that require an innovative approach and a long-term vision to promote the internal strength of each nation towards rapid growth, equal socio-economic development, and environmental protection.
The PM spoke of his appreciation for the Hanoi Plan of Action for 2018-2022 and The Regional Investment Framework 2022 (RIF 2022) with 220 programs and projects on technical assistance with a total investment of US$66 billion, and proposed outlining a vision for GMS cooperation by 2030 with the main tasks of enhancing competitiveness and supporting GMS countries in their efforts to establish themselves in the global value chain. He also underlined the need to strengthen coordination to cope with region-wide challenges, especially climate change and environmental protection.
In his speech, the PM highlighted major cooperation issues that require attention, such as infrastructure development, regional connectivity promotion, mutual support for trade and investment in the GMS countries, improvement in the quality of human resources, and building the GMS into a community of mutual interest and unity to cope with common challenges.
In his concluding remarks, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed a belief that with the strong determination of governments, and unanimity in ADB cooperation with its development partners, the GMS will be able to effectively perform its role as the first important cooperation mechanism in the Mekong region for the peace, sustainable development, and prosperity of the people.