Developing transport infrastructure in tandem with policies and procedures for crossing borders and promoting trade has been central to efforts to interconnect the Greater Mekong Subregion countries.
Transport lies at the heart of Greater Mekong Subregion cooperation. The development of physical infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, in tandem with policies and procedures for crossing borders and developing trade along key routes, has been central to efforts to forge a truly interconnected subregion.
Physically connecting the countries of the subregion was one of the first initiatives of the GMS program when it was founded in 1992. The countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion have acknowledged that in order to cooperate in trade, tourism, and investment, and to realize the other benefits of the region, they must expand the road links and border crossings that connect them.
This is being done through the development of “economic corridors”, which are geographic areas, often along major highways, where a variety of development projects are undertaken to maximize their development benefits. This might include projects involving infrastructure, laws and regulations, market development, and the improvement of urban centers. Economic corridors bring a wide range of benefits, far beyond what single projects deliver in terms of development impact.
The three main GMS corridors—the East–West, North–South and Southern economic corridors—have improved the lives of millions of people in the Greater Mekong Subregion. These corridors are being enhanced with secondary roads that extend their benefits to nearby communities most in need, and other roads that link to strategic seaports in the subregion. The regulatory details of how people and goods can best move along these corridors are also currently being worked out.
Thailand is ramping up infrastructure investments next year in the Eastern Economic Corridor, where all the economic corridors of the Greater Mekong Subregion converge.
An ambitious effort is underway to connect the rail systems of Mekong countries so that passengers and freight can move seamlessly across borders.
BANGKOK, THAILAND (2 June 2016) – “Greening” road freight in the Greater Mekong Subregion will help participating countries achieve their Sustainable Development Goals, as well as providing economic benefits, delegates at a workshop in Bangkok heard today.
BANGKOK, THAILAND (12 March 2016) – The completion of work on a 105-km section of highway from Phisanulok to Lomsak to expand it from two lanes to four, supported by the Asian Development Bank, is expected to generate greater economic activity and increase local competitiveness
A long stretch of road linking several provinces of Myanmar, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand and Viet Nam is home to many impoverished farmers. But things are slowly changing. Thanks to an improved road system, farmers now have an opportunity to distribute their agricultural products over long distances, reaching large, rich markets across the region. Farmers are also adding value to agricultural
MANILA, PHILIPPINES (11 December 2013) – A new bridge straddling the Mekong River between Thailand and Lao People’s Democratic Republic is open for business, signaling completion of physical works along one of the Greater Mekong Subregion’s most critical economic corridors.