GMS Countries to Strengthen Regional Cooperation on Food Safety, Agriculture

PU’ER CITY, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (31 May 2018) — Senior agriculture officials from the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) agreed to increase regional cooperation in food safety, boost the trading of climate-friendly agriculture products, and accelerate the implementation of the five-year GMS Strategy and Siem Reap Action Plan endorsed by the Second GMS Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting.

At the 15th Annual Meeting of the Working Group on Agriculture (WGA), which was held on 29–30 May, the senior government officials from Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam commended the collaboration of the GMS Core Agriculture Support Program Phase II (CASP II) with the private sector, which has trained government scientists on how to analyze food hazards in the laboratory, improve product traceability, and promote technology and innovation.

“The event has been very insightful and productive, as it addressed the key issues and challenges needed to jumpstart the next phase of agriculture regional cooperation, so the GMS can become a natural hub and a leading supplier of safe and environment-friendly agriculture products,” said the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Division Director for Southeast Asia Mr. Jiangfeng Zhang, who oversees both the agriculture and environment programs of the GMS.

The senior officials also discussed CASP II’s successful in-country pilots involving the participatory guarantee system, green water management, and nitrogen-use efficiency activities; and the completion of the development phase of the GMS Agriculture Information Network Service v2.0.

The WGA meeting discussed the linkages of the GMS agriculture program with the GMS Economic Cooperation Program and the directives from the 6th GMS Leaders’ Summit held in Ha Noi, Viet Nam last March.

The agreements reached at this meeting will provide a mandate in the preparation of a new regional technical assistance to be funded by ADB and its partners, to be approved later this year.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.