Urban Development in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Urbanization is set to play an ever greater role in the development of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries, transforming their economies and providing support to green economic growth.

With urbanization levels still averaging about 30% in Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries, gross domestic product contributions of towns and cities have already reached 50%–60%. By 2050, when urban areas are set to reach 64%–74%, urban gross domestic product will grow to an estimated 70%–80%. By consolidating and deepening development along existing corridors, and improving environmental conditions, the GMS can prepare for future green growth.

Impact of urbanization

Urbanization has the potential to be a force for good in the development of GMS countries.

  • modern environmental services and infrastructure (e.g., water, wastewater, and solid waste management) support green development and will contribute to positive health impacts;
  • improved climate resilience (e.g., through flood control measures) will mean reduced losses from climate change impacts; and
  • improved urban performance will translate into enhanced productivity and increased attractiveness for investors and residents, providing support to a green economy.

About this publication

This publication is an assessment of the role of cities and urban connectivity in the sustainable development of GMS countries. It aims to increase awareness of best practices and key challenges in addressing essential development concerns in an urban context.


Published on: 
June 16, 2016

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