Environment

In the Greater Mekong Subregion, 200 million people in rural areas depend on their surrounding environment for food, water, energy, and income. Forests, wetlands, mangroves, farmlands, and other ecosystems account for between 20% and 55% of the subregion's wealth.


In the Greater Mekong Subregion, 200 million people in rural areas depend on their surrounding environment for food, water, energy, and income. Forests, wetlands, mangroves, farmlands, and other ecosystems account for between 20% and 55% of the subregion's wealth.

These natural ecosystems – and the food, water, energy and other vital elements they provide – lie at the heart of the development of the Greater Mekong Subregion. How these natural resources are protected, managed, and enhanced will determine the long-term sustainability of its environment and economic development.

Overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, vulnerability to climate change, and ever-increasing natural disasters are threatening these ecosystems. In addition, environmental degradation is posing risks to sustained long-term growth, and could cost a whopping $55 billion in foregone services over the next 25 years if left unchecked.

Unless there is better planning and management, the subregion’s resource-intensive development approach could lead to food shortages, price shocks, health hazards, and environmental damage that impact thousands of families and put businesses at risk.

To address these issues, the six GMS countries are partnering to protect and enhance their natural capital through the GMS Core Environment Program with the vision of a poverty-free and ecologically rich subregion.

The program is administered by the Asian Development Bank and overseen by the GMS Working Group on the Environment, made up of representatives of the GMS environment ministries. The work is coordinated by the GMS Environment Operations Center, which is hosted by ADB’s Thailand Resident Mission.

With support from this program, countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion are working to meet the increasing demand for food, energy, water, and other natural resources, while at the same time ensuring that resources are available for future generations. This includes balancing rapid growth with sustainable practices, and protecting vital water resources, controlling floods, preserving biodiversity and critical ecosystems, and mitigating the impacts of urban expansion.

At the 5th GMS Environment Ministers' Meeting in Chiang Mai from 30 January to 1 February 2018, the ministers endorsed the Core Environment Program Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2018-2022.

Related

Summary of Proceedings

GMS Core Environment Program website

GMS Countries Renew Efforts to Boost Investments in Natural Assets

NAY PYI TAW, MYANMAR (29 January 2015) – Greater Mekong Subregion countries pledged to redouble efforts to protect and enhance their natural assets—including forests, farmlands, wetlands and water bodies—to ensure they contribute to inclusive and sustainable development, amid concerns that failure to take action threatens the subregion’s growth prospects.

News Releases

20th Annual Meeting of the GMS Working Group on Environment

The 20th Annual Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion Working Group on Environment (WGE AM20) was chaired by Mr. Hla Maung Thein, Deputy Director General, Environmental Conservation Department, Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF), Myanmar, and co-chaired by Mr. Sanath Ranawana, Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist, Asian Development Bank (ADB).


Critical habitat for the Cao Vit gibbon and lands bordering Lao PDR and Viet Nam will see boosted environmental protection efforts. Photo: ADB.

PRC Expands Biodiversity Corridors, Environmental Protection Efforts

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (24 March 2014) – The People’s Republic of China will expand biodiversity corridors to link 10 nature reserves in the southwestern corner of the country – including critical habitat for the Cao Vit gibbon, one of the rarest apes in the world – following workshops conducted as part of the Greater Mekong Subregion’s Core Environment Program.

News Releases