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

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.”   


The development of night markets in three towns along the Mekong River aims to help revitalize the Greater Mekong Subregion and reduce poverty. Photo credit: Javier Coloma Brotons.

Increasing Economic Activities through Night Markets

A pilot project has developed night markets in selected border towns in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) to take advantage of the economic opportunities opened by infrastructure projects in the area.







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