Representatives from Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries gathered at a seminar in Hanoi on Dec. 1 to discuss measures to realise the goal of building a more prosperous and equitable region through development of a green economy.

The seminar was jointly held by Vietnam ’s Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment (ISPONRE), Asian Development Bank (ADB), UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Danish Foreign Ministry and the Danish International Development Agency (Danida).

Speaking at the event, Dr. Geoffrey Blate, WWF Greater Mekong’s senior advisor on landscape conservation, said that investment in eco-infrastructure in the Mekong River region will bring in excellent benefits as the GMS is one of the regions with the highest biodiversity values in the world.

Through investment in preserving biodiversity and maintaining natural resources, the GMS region will create more options for economic growth, protect society from some natural disasters and ensure long-term sustainability in the face of global environmental changes, including climate change, he said.

GMS countries are increasingly aware of the necessity of economic restructuring in order to reflect the real role of natural resources in maintaining economic growth and ensuring the prosperity of 400 million residents.

The seminar also considered models and cooperative opportunities to increase support and encourage sustainable investment in this region, as well as defined objectives of multiplying and strengthening the most effective activities.

With a vision towards the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, to be held in Brazil in June 2012, participants said they wish to have their “The Roadmap to Rio ” proposal adopted. This roadmap will summarise the goal for green development and a green economy for the GMS region, they said.

Covering an area of 2.6 million sq. km, GMS groups Cambodia , China , Laos , Myanmar , Thailand and Vietnam . The six countries joined a subregional economic cooperation programme in 1996./.