9th ACMECS Summit Declaration Focuses on Post-pandemic Recovery
The 9th ACMECS Summit Declaration emphasized post-pandemic socio-economic recovery and preparation for future crises. Photo by OCM.
Leaders of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam adopted the Phnom Penh declaration at the 9th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Summit held on 9 December. The declaration emphasizes post-pandemic socio-economic recovery and preparation for future crises and challenges through public health cooperation and enhanced supply chains. ACMECS leaders stressed the importance of vaccine multilateralism to ensure equitable and safe access to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.
The Summit, held under the theme “Partnership for Connectivity and Resilience,” committed to reinforce ongoing national efforts and to strengthen cooperation within ASEAN-led mechanisms, external partners and international organizations. The Summit also discussed the promotion of multidimensional connectivity to manage the impact of COVID-19 on mobility and global value chains. ACMECS leaders called for technology adoption to connect the subregion's market with the greater ASEAN and those in neighboring countries, and promotion of digital commerce especially for micro, small, and medium-sized (MSMEs) enterprises.
Develop Agricultural Value Chains
Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc remarked on the potential of the subregion’s agriculture, which accounts for a large portion of the Mekong’s labor force. He advocated for the promotion of sustainable agricultural development toward the formation of Mekong agricultural value chains and deeper integration into the global value chain.
Cooperation through Economic Corridors
The Viet Nam Prime Minister also urged Mekong countries to foster economic and transport connection along the East-West Economic Corridor. Cooperation along the corridor can accelerate linkages between the corridor and major industrial and economic centers, develop transport infrastructure systems in border areas, and encourage multimodal transport connections between the subregion’s cities, cultural heritages, and natural wonders. He also noted that countries must sign coastal shipping agreements.
ACMECS member countries are part of the ADB-supported Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation Program. In October 2020, the GMS Program held the 11th GMS Economic Corridors Forum, which yielded valuable discussions on strengthening GMS cooperation to support the further expansion and development of an integrated network of economic corridors in the subregion.
The East West Economic Corridor links important areas of commerce in the subregion. View recommendations from an Asian Development Bank study.