What’s New in the Greater Mekong Subregion
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 GMS e-Newsletter
   What’s New in the Greater Mekong Subregion
   November 2020
Top row (from left): Mr. Liu Kun, Minister, Ministry of Finance, PRC; Ms. Zou Jiayi, Vice Minister, Ministry of Finance, PRC; Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, ADB. Middle row (from left): Mr. Sok Chenda Sophea, Minister attached to the Prime Minister/ Secretary General, Council for the Development of Cambodia, Cambodia; Mr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Lao PDR. Bottom row (from left): Mr. Bharat Singh, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, Myanmar; Mr. Thaworn Senneam, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Transport, Thailand; and Mr. Tran Quoc Phuong, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Viet Nam.

24th GMS Ministerial Conference Finalizes the GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030

The 24th GMS Ministerial Conference was held on 4 November 2020 with the theme “Pave the way to a more integrated, inclusive, sustainable and prosperous GMS.” The meeting finalized the GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) to be presented to the GMS leaders at the 7th GMS Summit on 25 March 2021. The conference also discussed the GMS COVID-19 Response and Recovery Plan 2021-2023 aimed at combatting the pandemic and accelerating the subregion's recovery. Read more
Download: 24th GMS Ministerial Conference Joint Ministerial Statement 

GMS 11th Economic Corridors Forum Presents Findings of NSEC-5 Study

The 11th Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-11) was held on 28 October 2020 with the theme “Boosting Competitiveness, Connectivity, and Community in the GMS Economic Corridors through Focused and Integrated Spatial Development.” The forum highlighted strategic thrusts and principles in the draft GMS-2030 that support the development of the GMS economic corridors. It also presented findings of the Study on Section-Specific Planning for the GMS North–South Economic Corridor in Myanmar and the PRC (NSEC-5 Study). Read more.
Plus: GMS Economic Corridors Forum Looks to Accelerate Development in Economic Corridors

GMS Convenes Development Partners' Meeting

The GMS Development Partners’ Meeting, convened virtually on 20 October 2020, gathered close to 200 participants from 54 development partner organizations, private sector, and knowledge institutions. It briefed participants on ADB responses to COVID-19 through GMS cooperation, as well as development partners’ prospective roles in supporting COVID-19 responses and in the GMS’s priority areas. In the health sector, over $60 million assistance was organized for pandemic response, with the GMS Development Partners mobilizing a sizable support. Read more

Plus: Greater Mekong Subregion Senior Officials' (SOM) Meeting Solidifies 24th GMS Ministerial Conference Arrangements, GMS Senior Officials’ Meeting Reviews COVID-19 Response Initiatives



46th Meeting of the GMS Tourism Working Group and MTCO Board Meeting
3 December 2020: Video Conference

Fourth Meeting of the GMS Urban Development Working Group
December 2020: Video Conference

SOM Preparation for the 7th GMS Summit
January 2021: Video Conference

24th Meeting of the GMS Subregional Transport Forum
January 2021: Video Conference

Mekong Tourism Forum
25–26 February 2021: Bagan, Myanmar

7th GMS Leaders Summit 
25 March 2021: Video Conference
DownloadGMS Program Calendar of Events


Passengers at the Yangon Myanmar Railway Station in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by ADB

Watch: Meeting the COVID-19 Pandemic Challenge in the GMS

With proactive planning and investment in health and other sectors—and the support of partners like ADB—the six countries of the GMS are meeting the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring faster economic recovery. 

$30 Million ADB Loan to Scale Up Myanmar’s COVID-19 Health Response

ADB has approved a $30 million loan to boost Myanmar’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan, as additional financing to the GMS Health Security Project, will help the government make immediate investments in 31 district and township hospitals across the country, and human resource capacity to help the health system respond to COVID-19 and other future public health threats. Read more.

ADB Approves $250 Million Loan to Support Myanmar's COVID-19 Response

A $250 million loan from ADB will help the Government of Myanmar respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by mitigating the impacts on people’s health, livelihoods, and the economy, while also ensuring that the poor and vulnerable benefit from the country’s economic recovery. Read more.

$1.5 Billion ADB Loan to Support Thailand's COVID-19 Response

Thailand has one of the more developed health care systems in Southeast Asia, but the country remains highly vulnerable to the pandemic due to its deep integration with regional and global economies. Potential surges in COVID-19 cases could overwhelm the system, resulting in constraints in human resources and medical equipment. ADB will provide a $1.5 billion loan to support the Government of Thailand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

ADB Approves $250 Million Loan to Support Cambodia's COVID-19 Response

ADB approved a $250 million loan to help the Government of Cambodia respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening the country’s health care system, increasing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable, and providing economic stimulus to businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises. Read more.


IOM staff providing direct support to migrant returnees at Migrant Resource Center in Poi Pet, Cambodia. Photo by IOM

ADB-IOM Dialogue on Labor Migration in the Greater Mekong Subregion

This joint virtual dialogue organized by ADB and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Labor Migration in the GMS launched the ADB-IOM cooperation for enhanced labor migration management in the GMS. View the meeting recording. Read more.
Plus: Why Safeguarding Migrants’ Health and Achieving Universal Health Coverage Matters amidst COVID-19, COVID-19 is Sending Millions of Overseas Workers Back Into Southeast Asia’s Rural Areas
Download: COVID-19 Impact on International Migration, Remittances, and Recipient Households in Developing Asia

ADB Allocates $20 Million to Help Developing Members Access Vaccines for COVID-19

ADB has allocated $20.3 million in technical assistance to help its developing members access vaccines for COVID-19 and establish systems to enable equitable and efficient vaccine distribution. Read more.
Watch: ADB Insight: Hunt for a Vaccine

How Universal Health Coverage in Thailand and Viet Nam Helped Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19

Strong commitments toward achieving universal health coverage prepared countries like Thailand and Viet Nam to better manage the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

Plus: Medical Supplies from Cambodia Helping ADB Developing Member Countries Fight COVID-19 Outbreak

Join the Challenge: Re-establishing Tourism Confidence through Innovative Digital Solutions
ADB seeks innovative solutions to fast-track tourism recovery in Southeast Asia. The challenge,
"Re-establishing Tourism Confidence through Innovative Digital Solutions," will grant the selected solution with potential funding of $10,000 or more to launch selected pilots in ADB's developing member countries.  

Watch: Reopening Tourism
Tourism is a foundation of the Asia and the Pacific economy. ADB Insight asks what it will take to revive tourism in the region.

Download: Reviving Tourism amid the COVID-19 PandemicThe Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism Enterprises in the Lao PDR: An Initial Assessment

Plus: ADB Ventures Backs LocalFarm to Help Thai Tourism Endure DownturnPACER Dialogue Tackles Tourism Recovery from the COVID-19 Outbreak 

$484 Million ADB Loan to Fund New GMS Expressway in Myanmar

ADB has approved a $483.8 million loan to build a 64-kilometer (km) expressway connecting the capital of Bago region and the township of Kyaikto in Mon state in Myanmar and support economic development along the GMS East–West Economic Corridor (EWEC). Read more.

Plus: Myanmar Approves Proposed ADB Loan for the Bago–Kyaikto Highway along GMS’ EWEC
ADB Highlights Support for GMS Transport and Economic Corridors in ASEAN Forum

Eight Priorities for Kickstarting Post-Pandemic Green and Resilient Recovery in the GMS

For the first time, the top five global risks in the Global Risks Report 2020 by the World Economic Forum are climate- and environment-related. Dr. Srinivasan Ancha, Principal Climate Change Specialist, ADB, urged countries implementing or contemplating large stimulus packages for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic assess these packages based on key climate-smart, pro-poor, pro-growth criteria. He identified eight priorities to stimulate a green and resilient recovery in the GMS. Read more.

Watch: Project Readiness Improvement Trust Fund: Promoting Readiness of Climate Resilient Investments in Southeast Asia

Post-pandemic Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation and Wildlife Management in the GMS

The GMS harbors globally important and irreplaceable elements of biodiversity. Biodiversity and ecosystem conservation can play a role in safeguarding public health by reducing prevalence of infectious diseases. Biodiversity conservation also has potential to support other interlinked global sustainable development goals, such as food security, climate action, and poverty alleviation. Read more.

Post-pandemic Priorities for Sustainable Waste Management in the GMS

The GMS is a hotspot for plastic waste even before the pandemic. The increase in packaging and single-use plastics will have a major impact on the subregional environment and biodiversity, if not addressed quickly. The GMS Working Group on Environment meeting called for improved guidance on plastic waste management policies and legislation to help the GMS countries have a sound legal and institutional basis to address waste emergencies such as the COVID-19. Read more.

Download: Green Finance Strategies for Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery in Southeast Asia: Greening Recoveries for Planet and People
Plus: ADB Supports Thailand’s Green, Social, and Sustainability Bonds for COVID-19 RecoveryADB to Help Improve Water Resources of River Basin in Yunnan, PRC


ADB’s Rapid COVID-19 Response in Southeast Asia

ADB has approved $5.375 billion in financing to help Southeast Asian countries cope with the devastating impacts of the pandemic. This support focuses on three key areas: boosting healthcare responses, enhancing social protection, and protecting businesses and economies. The brochure provides details on how and where this assistance is being rolled out and includes country-specific examples. Read more.

Thailand Shares Best Practices and Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Global COVID-19 Index recognized Thailand as the top country in making the most progress toward curbing the spread of the pandemic. In a report published by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health,Thailand shares its experience in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak and provides policy lessons to help other countries overcome this disease. Read more.

More publications: 
GMS e-Newsletter provides updates on activities and major developments in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

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