24th Meeting of the GMS Subregional Transport Forum (STF-24)  
Event

24th Meeting of the GMS Subregional Transport Forum (STF-24)


The Government of Viet Nam will chair the virtual 24th Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Subregional Transport Forum (STF–24) on 21 January 2021 with the theme “Forging Greater Transport Connectivity Toward the Visions of GMS-2030.” The meeting will emphasize the key role of transport connectivity in realizing the vision of a more integrated, prosperous, sustainable and inclusive GMS.

The meeting will:

  • Review the status and update the pipeline of GMS transport sector projects in the GMS Regional Investment Framework 2022;
  • Brief the Subregional Transport Forum on the key thrusts and principles in the draft GMS and COVID–19 Response and Recovery Plan 2021–2023 that have a bearing on the transport sector;
  • Review the progress of the Cross Border Trade Agreement “Early Harvest” implementation and updates on possible future efforts in transport and trade facilitation;
  • Update the Subregional Transport Forum on the work and plans for the Greater Mekong Railway Association;
  • Discuss (i) recent initiatives to improve road safety regimes in GMS countries, and (ii) railway planning and financing (few countries on voluntary basis);
  • Update the Subregional Transport Forum on the activities of development partners in the GMS transport sector;
  • Discuss other matters that have a bearing on the GMS transport sector.

GMS Senior Officials in the transport sector, representatives of development partner organizations, private sector, and ADB officials will be invited to participate in this meeting.

Forum papers will be posted on this site closer to the event.


The Ministry of Transport (MOT) of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) jointly organized the 24th Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Subregional Transport Forum (STF-24) virtually held on 21 January 2021. Delegations from the Kingdom of Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, ADB, and representatives from development partner organizations attended the meeting. The theme of STF-24 was “Forging Greater Transport Connectivity Toward the Visions of GMS 2030”.

The STF reviews, coordinates, and monitors regional transport plans and projects of GMS member countries. This year’s STF-24 was held to (i) review the status and update the pipeline of GMS transport sector projects in the GMS Regional Investment Framework (RIF) 2022; (ii) brief the STF on the key thrusts and principles in the draft GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) and the GMS COVID–19 Response and Recovery Plan 2021–2023 (GMS COVID-19 Plan) that have a bearing on the transport sector; (iii) review the progress of the Cross Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (CBTA) “Early Harvest” implementation and updates on possible future efforts in transport and trade facilitation; (iv) update the STF on the work and plans for the Greater Mekong Railway Association (GMRA); (v) discuss recent initiatives to improve road safety regimes in GMS countries and railway planning and financing; (vi) update the STF on the activities of development partners in the GMS transport sector; and (vii) discuss other matters.

In his keynote speech, Mr. Le Din Tho, Deputy Minister, Viet Nam Ministry of Transport (MOT), emphasized the importance of the transport sector in GMS cooperation. He highlighted the progress achieved in the GMS RIF 2022, with 53 projects worth $48.9 billion already financed, of which 12 projects worth $641 million have already been completed. He encouraged the Forum to discuss and propose solutions for the transport sector’s recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mr. Le Tuan Anh, Director General of the International Cooperation Department, MOT, and Chair of the meeting, remarked that the GMS transport sector will continue to be a key factor to support the successful implementation of the proposed GMS-2030.

Mr. Hiroaki Yamaguchi, Director, Southeast Asia Department Transport and Communications Division, ADB, and Co-chair of the meeting, stated that the transport sector remains important as countries and the region begin to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key outcomes of the meeting:

  • A review of the pipeline of GMS Transport Sector Projects in the GMS RIF 2022. ADB presented progress in implementation and financing, and the future of RIF. Country representatives delivered a progress report of their transport projects.
  • Presentation on the transport sector-related aspects of the proposed new GMS 2030 and the GMS COVID-19 Plan. Mr. Anthony Gill, Senior Regional Cooperation Specialist, Southeast Asia Department, ADB, briefed the Forum on the strategic thrusts and principles of the draft GMS 2030 and GMS COVID-19 Plan and expounded on their transport-related aspects. His presentation covered the proposed people-centered strategic pillars in the strategy: community, connectivity, and competitiveness; and the proposed vision, mission, and the six innovative approaches, such as promoting an enhanced spatial approach.
  • A report on the progress of the CBTA “Early Harvest” implementation and other plans for the transport and trade facilitation sectors. Mr. Nazrul Mohammad Islam, Transport Specialist, Southeast Asia Department, ADB, stressed the demonstrated economic case of the initiative, the need to keep trade, investment, and tourism open to revitalize economies, ensure health and well-being of people, strengthen regional coordination to respond to COVID-19, and achieve common standards in border crossings. He also discussed the Mekong Institute’s progress monitoring, including their recommendations in accelerating the CBTA "Early Harvest” implementation.
  • Updates on the GMRA. Mr. Ba Myint, Chairman of GMRA and Managing Director of Myanmar Railways, Ministry of Transport and Communications briefed the forum on the activities of the GMRA, its mission and goals, and the various projects supported by the ADB technical assistance.
  • Updates on improving road safety regimes in GMS countries. Presentations were delivered on (i) recent initiatives to improve road safety regimes in GMS countries, and (ii) ADB road safety support and initiatives for the whole Asia Pacific.
  • Discussion on railway planning and financing. Presentations were delivered by Viet Nam and Myanmar, which discussed their railway activities and development plans, and highlighted key railway linkages in the subregion.
  • Statements/Updates from Development Partners. Representatives from United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Agence Française de Développement, Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) of Thailand, European Investment Bank (EIB), and the World Bank discussed how their initiatives continue to contribute to the GMS transport sector.

The meeting discussed plans for the 25th STF. Cambodia agreed in principle to host the next STF meeting.

Read the Summary of Proceedings.




Last Updated: 26 February 2021