GMS Ministers to Gather in Phnom Penh for the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference
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
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 to be held in Phnom Penh in 2020.
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.”
MC-23 will bring together GMS Ministers and Senior Officials of the six GMS countries and representatives from ADB, development partners and the private sector.
Cambodia, People's Republic of China (specifically Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam launched the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program in 1992, with assistance from ADB, to enhance economic relations. The GMS Program is a leading example of how regional cooperation can deliver successful results over the long term. Almost $23 billion in investments have been directly channeled through the program as of end 2018.
Schedule of Events
On 17 November, an internal GMS Senior Officials Meeting will review achievements of the GMS cooperation, and finalize deliverables for the upcoming ministerial conference. In the afternoon, the development partners of the GMS will be briefed on key elements of the proposed new GMS strategy. The meeting with the development partners will explore potential areas of engagement.
On 18 November, a closed-door Ministerial Retreat will be held in the morning to be attended by the GMS Ministers, Senior Officials, and ADB Vice President Ahmed M. Saeed. The formal plenary Ministerial Conference will be held in the afternoon. In the evening, the Royal Government of Cambodia will host a gala dinner.
Expected outputs of MC-23
The GMS Ministers are expected to finalize the proposed long term strategic framework of GMS for the GMS Leaders’ consideration and possible endorsement at the 7th GMS Summit. They are also expected to endorse the GMS Regional Investment Framework 2022 Second Progress Report and Update.
They will also be briefed on the preliminary results of a research program that aims to support the implementation of the new GMS strategy through policy recommendations.
The new GMS Health Cooperation Strategy 2019-2023 will also be officially launched at the MC-23. The five-year Strategy provides a framework to guide GMS countries in collectively tackling health issues impacting the subregion.
A Joint Ministerial Statement will be issued at the plenary.
About the GMS Ministerial Conference
The GMS Ministerial Conference designates Ministers to provide strategic and policy directions for the program, and oversees progress in identifying and implementing “results-oriented” subregional cooperation initiatives. It also serves as a venue for member governments interact and coordinate with development partners, including the private sector.
The last ministerial conference was held in September 2017 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. It endorsed a five-year action plan framework that included $64 billion in projects to help the GMS subregion achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development.
About the GMS Summit of Leaders
The Summit of Leaders is the highest forum in the GMS program. It is generally held every 3 years.