Vietnam attends 23rd GMS ministerial conference in Phnom Penh hinh anh 1Heads of delegations at the conference (Photo: VNA)

Phnom Penh (VNA) – Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vu Dai Thang led a Vietnamese delegation to the 23rd Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Ministerial Conference that took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from November 17-18.

Themed “Greater Integration, Inclusivity and Sustainability in the GMS,” the event aimed to prepare for the seventh GMS Summit slated for 2021 in Cambodia.

At the event, participants discussed and reviewed the new long term strategic framework of GMS for the GMS leaders’ consideration and endorsement at the seventh GMS Summit.

They will be briefed on the preliminary results of a research programme that aims to support the implementation of the new GMS strategy through policy recommendations, while reviewing progress since the previous conference in various fields such as transport, energy, agriculture, tourism, trade, environment and health care.

They noted that over the past three decades, the GMS Programme has invested in constructing and maintaining 11,000km of roads, 500km of railway and 3,00km of power transmission lines, while enhancing energy generation capacity to provide to more than 200,000 households.

The programme has supplied technical assistance to enhance the soft and hard connection through trade and trans-border transport coordination, along with the adjustments of the health care and quarantine systems, biodiversity and environment protection and developing agricultural value chain.

At the conference, GMS countries and the ADB also discussed difficulties facing the programme, including trade tension, climate change and energy security problems.

Participants agreed on a GMS health care cooperation strategy for the 2019-2023 period.

Addressing the event, the Vietnamese Deputy Minister lauded cooperation and coordination among GMS countries as well as the important role of development partners, especially the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as the GMS Secretariat in providing technical support, resources and knowledge to GMS member countries to complete their socio-economic development goals.

Thang proposed that the ADB and partners will continue working closely and mobilising resources to realise the Regional Investment Framework 2022 (RIF) with 255 projects worth about 92 billion USD, while encouraging the private sector’s engagement.

The GMS region comprises Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, China, Thailand and Vietnam. With the support of the ADB, the six GMS countries launched their economic cooperation since 1992, with priority on areas of agriculture, energy, environment, health care, human resources, IT, tourism, transport, trade, urban development and border economy.

Since its formation, the GMS Programme has invested nearly 23 billion USD in projects in the whole region as well as trans-border transport and energy systems, as well as infrastructure for tourism and disease prevention./.