16th GMS Ministerial Meeting opens

18:45, August 20, 2010      

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The 16th Greater Mekong Subregion ( GMS) Ministerial Meeting opened on Friday, drawing six countries along Asia's Mekong River including Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In his opening speech, Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Hong Phuc said GMS cooperation has gained remarkable achievements in the past two decades with the support of ADB and other development partners.

However, Phuc said that GMS cooperation still faced a lot of challenges. Most GMS countries still suffer from backward economies. Many programs and projects have been established but the financial assistance is limited. Besides, big gap in legal and political systems exists among GMS countries.

Laurence Greenwood, vice president of ADB said at the meeting that despite the global financial crisis, East Asia and Southeast Asia are showing a strong V-shaped recovery with the estimated economic growth rates of 8.1 percent and 6.7 percent respectively in 2010.

As GMS program enters a new decade, under the theme of "New Frontiers of Cooperation", Greenwood urged representatives at the meeting to endorse a plan of action to help bolster economic growth.

The meeting was expected to pass five documents including The Strategic Framework for Connecting GMS Railways, Strategic Directions for the Development of the Second Phase of the Core Environment Program Biodiversity Corridor Initiative, The Reason Enough To Act (RETA) for Promoting Renewable Energy, Clean Fuels and Energy Efficiency in the GMS, The Core Agricultural Support Program II (2011-2105) and The Program of Actions for Transport and Trade Facilitation in the GMS.

Since 1992, the six GMS countries have participated in a comprehensive program of economic cooperation with the assistance of the ADB and other development partners.

Source: Xinhua


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