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.

The Working Group on Environment (WGE) provides overall leadership and direction for the subregion's Core Environment Program.


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

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Srinivasan Ancha
    Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Pavit Ramachandran
    Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division,
    East Asia Department

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Rhodora Concepcion
    Thailand Resident Mission,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Rafaelita Jamon
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.

Seated from left: Mr. Sok Chenda Sophea, Minister attached to the Prime Minister, Minister in charge of GMS Cooperation Program/GMS Minister, Secretary General, Council for the Development of Cambodia, and Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President for ADB Operations in the Southeast Asia Department, the East Asia Department, and the Pacific Department at the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference. Photo by ADB.

ADB Affirms Support for Future GMS Initiatives 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) remains committed to supporting the future initiatives of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Program. Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President of ADB, reaffirmed ADB’s support in his speech at the recently-concluded 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-23). The MC-23 was Mr.

Events

Heads of GMS country delegations participate in the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference. Standing from left are Mr. Vu Dai Thang, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Viet Nam; Mr. Aung Htoo, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar; Ms. Cheng Lihua, Vice Minister, Ministry of Finance, PRC; Mr. Sok Chenda Sophea, Minister attached to the Prime Minister, Minister in charge of GMS Cooperation Program/GMS Minister, Secretary General, Council for the Development of Cambodia; Mr. Viengsavath Siphandone, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Lao PDR; Mr. Thaworn Senneam, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Transport, Thailand; and Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President for ADB Operations in the Southeast Asia Department, the East Asia Department, and the Pacific Department. Photo by ADB.

23rd Ministerial Conference of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program

The Royal Government of Cambodia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) organized the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference on 17-18 November 2019 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with the theme “Greater Integration, Inclusivity and Sustainability in the GMS.”  The meeting brought together GMS Ministers and Senior Officials of the six GMS countries—Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Lao People’s Democratic

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Phnom Penh skyline reflecting the city's rapid growth. The Central Market, built in 1937, is seen in the foreground. Photo by Lor Teng Huy - own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

GMS Ministers to Gather in Phnom Penh for the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference

The Ministers of the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are set to lay the groundwork for the preparation for the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders. 

Hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-23) will take place in Phnom Penh on 18 November 2019, with the theme "Greater Integration, Inclusivity and Sustainability in the GMS.”   

Articles

Khamking Koemany is a homestay provider on Don Khon Island, one of the popular sites for tourists visiting the Four Thousand Islands group on the Mekong River in Champasack Province. His business has flourished since he received training in tourism services under the GMS Sustainable Tourism Development Project. Photo: ADB.

Lao PDR and the Greater Mekong Subregion: Expanding Opportunities for Growth

Blessed with rich natural resources and a strategic location at the heart of the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has emerged from decades of turmoil and isolation to become one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia since 2011.

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