Urban Development

The Greater Mekong Subregion is working to improve the quality of life and economic vibrancy of its cities and towns by using global best practices in urban development.

The Urban Development Working Group oversees urban development and economic zones as new areas of cooperation in the subregion.

By 2050, the Greater Mekong Subregion is expected to be at least 50% urbanized. This will bring vast changes to the economies of the subregion. What was once a primarily agricultural area is transforming into a place where cities and towns are the main drivers of economic growth. Careful planning is needed to balance urban growth with environmental protection and economic equity so that healthy cities can be enjoyed by all residents.

The Greater Mekong Subregion is working to improve the quality of life and economic vibrancy of its cities through the development of national strategies and projects that incorporate global best practices into the subregion’s urban development. This work has included the first and second Corridor Towns Development Project, which is developing competitive and environmentally friendly cities along vital economic arteries in the subregion. Cross-border economic zones are also being developed.

The COVID-19 pandemic inevitably will leave its mark on cities, physically and socially, echoing for generations to come. This is already evident in terms of urban life. The GMS Program will focus on these effects with measures to respond to current and future crises. The GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) will encourage a holistic approach to the future planning of cities so that they are green, smart, competitive, resilient, safe, and inclusive. It will also promote linkages between cities to develop new urban clusters and maximize economies of agglomeration, develop cities in border areas, create linkages with special economic and industrial zones, and improve waste management and pollution in cities located close to GMS rivers and seas. GMS-2030 was endorsed and adopted at the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders in September 2021. It aims to provide a new setting for the development of this subregion for the next decade.

Related

Urban Development in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Greater Mekong Subregion Urban Development Strategic Framework

Second Greater Mekong Subregion Corridor Towns Development Project

Urban Development Working Group


Urban Development

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Alan Baird 
    Water and Urban Development Sector Office Sectors Group

  • Hinako Maruyama
    Water and Urban Development Sector Office Sectors Group

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Antonio Ressano 
    Regional Cooperation and Integration Unit
    Southeast Asia Department 

  • Alma Canarejo 
    Regional Cooperation and Integration Unit
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat 

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat



Town market, Myanmar. Photo: ADB.

ADB and NEDA are exploring joint development of corridor towns in Myanmar. Photo: ADB.

ADB, NEDA Sign Partnership For Joint Cooperation Programs

BANGKOK, THAILAND (15 October 2017)  – The Asian Development Bank and the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency, a Thai development agency, have signed a partnership arrangement to carry out joint cooperation programs at national and regional levels.



The GMS ministers called for a Transport and Trade Facilitation Action Program to enhance the cross-border flow of goods and people, and for a coordinated approach to developing urban areas throughout the region. A vendor selling different products in a market in Thailand. Photo: ADB.

Ministers Endorse Plans to Develop New Special Economic Zones in Mekong

KUNMING, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (11 June 2015) – Government ministers and senior officials attending the Greater Mekong Subregion Seventh Economic Corridors Forum today agreed on measures to promote the development of economic corridors, facilitate cross-border transport and trade, and enhance cooperation and private sector participation.


GMS Economic Corridors Forum Looks to Enhance Cross-Border Trade

KUNMING, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (10 June 2015) – Ministers and senior officials from the six Greater Mekong Subregion countries and the Vice-President of the Asian Development Bank will convene tomorrow at the 7th GMS Economic Corridors Forum to discuss how to further develop economic corridors, facilitate cross-border transport and trade, and enhance cooperation and private sector participation – including the development of Special Economic Zones.



3rd Meeting of the GMS Task Force on Urban Development

The Third Meeting of the GMS Task Force on Urban Development in Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) from 11–12 September 2014 was held to (i) review the draft GMS Urban Development Strategy1 and Implementation Plan; (ii) discuss the GMS Regional Investment Framework (RIF) Implementation Plan, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system, and the results of the GMS Sixth Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-6) in Ha Noi, Viet Nam (8 August 2014) on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Cross Border Economic Zones (CBEZs); and (iii) agree on the way forward of the GMS Urban Development S



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