A 24/7 automatic dispensing machine provides free rice for people out of work following the lockdown. This was spearheaded by a Vietnamese entrepreneur in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Reuters on Twitter.

Initiative Gathers Mekong Innovations Spurred by the COVID-19 Pandemic

An initiative by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), Destination Mekong, and the Mekong Institute (MI) taps individuals' help in crowdsourcing newly-spotted innovations on how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is being managed and/or overcome in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

GMS in the News

Border gate between Lao PDR and Viet Nam in Lao Bao (ADB Photo)

Lao PDR, Viet Nam Plan to Open New International Borders

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Viet Nam plan to upgrade two local border crossing points to international border crossings this year. The plan was announced during the 29th annual border meeting of the two neighboring countries on 26 December 2019 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. 

The Dak Ta-Ok (Lao PDR)–Nam Giang (Viet Nam) between Xekong (Lao PDR) and Quang Nam (Viet Nam) provinces will be the first international crossing point in Xekong. The neighboring countries plan to open this upgraded international border crossing in the first quarter of 2020.

GMS in the News

Viet Nam exports coffee to more than 80 countries worldwide, including the People's Republic of China. Photo by Marko Mikkonen.

Agro-food Exporters from Viet Nam, Enterprises from Yunnan, PRC Hold Virtual Conference on Boosting Trade

Trade promotion authorities from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Viet Nam organized a virtual conference for agro-food exporters from Viet Nam and enterprises from Yunnan, PRC, in a bid to boost Viet Nam’s agricultural and food exports. Around 23 Vietnamese agriculture, food, and beverage enterprises participated in the event to promote products suitable to the market in Yunnan province and the broader PRC. 

The conference also provided an opportunity to discuss measures to boost Viet Nam’s agricultural and food exports, and maintain trade linkages.

GMS in the News

Mekong Institute’s Capacity Building Activities Continue to Expand Knowledge in the GMS

In 2019, the Mekong Institute conducted 112 capacity building activities that benefitted 3,270 participants from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries in the areas of agricultural commercialization, trade and investment facilitation, and innovation technology and communication. Furthermore, Mekong Institute alumni held 155 trainings and workshops, expanding knowledge sharing to an additional 9,031 beneficiaries across Cambodia, People’s Republic of China (PRC), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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Scenes of healthcare workers at Thailand Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute, Ministry of Public Health. Photo: UN Women/ Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Greater Mekong Subregion Senior Officials Convene Meeting on COVID-19 Response

Senior officials of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) met to discuss responses to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the GMS, focusing on regional approaches to promote recovery and resilience. The meeting was held via videoconferencing on 2 June 2020, with participation from all GMS countries and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).  

Events

Car usage is on the rise in Yangon causing much traffic congestion in the city. Photo: ADB

Improving Connectivity of Myanmar’s Yangon Region along the East-West Economic Corridor

Plans are underway to connect Yangon in Myanmar with the Bago Region and Mon State through new expressways along the Greater Mekong Subregion’s (GMS) East-West Economic Corridor. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide financing assistance to build more efficient highways that will promote safer movement of goods and people. 

GMS in the News

ASEAN headquarter in Indonesia. Photo: Gunawan Kartapranata

ASEAN Economic Ministers Pledge to Boost Supply Chain Connectivity

The ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting on 4 June adopted the Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Through the action plan, economic ministers hope to counter the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak by promoting ASEAN markets for essential goods and strengthening economic cooperation among ASEAN countries.  

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Lao PDR and Myanmar to Work on a New Cooperation Master Plan

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Myanmar will explore opportunities to enhance tourism cooperation through bilateral and multilateral frameworks. This was agreed by the two countries at the 12th Meeting of Myanmar-Laos Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation held in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 6 March 2020. 

Lao PDR and Myanmar aim to create a new cooperation master plan. Tourism could help promote each other’s rich culture and heritage and bring their people together.  

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Photo: Beth Kanter/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Cambodia, People’s Republic of China Sign the Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Mango Export

Cambodia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) signed the Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Fresh Mango Export on 9 June 2020. This will allow Cambodia and the PRC to work together on the phytosanitary practices of Cambodia’s mango farms to increase Cambodia’s mango export to the PRC. Cambodia can export up to 500,000 tons of high quality mangoes to the PRC per year, according to the Embassy of the PRC.

GMS in the News

Cambodia Plans Improvement of Thailand and Viet Nam Border Gate Facilities

A press release from the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance announced plans to improve facilities at border gates with Thailand and Viet Nam.   

Cambodia’s border crossing points with Thailand and Vietnam are crowded with traffic of cross-border transport and tourists. The country wants to develop the necessary infrastructure to manage this traffic flow to ease cross-border transport and boost trade activities.

The Economic and Financial Policy Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Aun Pornmoniroth, approved the proposal. 

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