Greater Mekong Subregion 12th Economic Corridors Forum
12th Economic Corridors Forum
22 November 2021
Enhancing Connectivity, Competitiveness, and Community Along the GMS Economic Corridors: Vital Means Toward Economic Recovery and Sustained Growth
The 12th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-12) will be held on 22 November 2021 with the theme "Enhancing Connectivity, Competitiveness, and Community Along the GMS Economic Corridors: Vital Means Toward Economic Recovery and Sustained Growth." The Government of Viet Nam will host ECF-12 via web-based conferencing.
The Forum serves as a key platform that crystalizes thinking and experiences from GMS member countries on spatial development. It highlights successes and potential areas for development in economic corridor connectivity, regional economic integration, and safe and sustainable community-building. ECF facilitates valuable discussions that aim to further strengthen GMS cooperation.
The upcoming ECF-12 will emphasize the 3 Cs of the GMS Program -- “Connectivity, Competitiveness, and Community” The program is organized in 3 sessions under these themes.
Sessions under “connectivity” will focus on software supporting economic corridors in the GMS. The session will share updates on various activities relating to transport and trade facilitation and the GMS Cross Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (CBTA) and the implementation of the GMS Cross-Border E-Commerce Cooperation Platform. Preliminary findings from the study on “Enhancing Trade and Investment Facilitation and Liberalization through the GMS Program” will be presented.
Sessions under “competitiveness” will highlight the role of cities and local governments in the development of economic corridors. The session will discuss matters concerning the GMS Governors’ Forum and deepening engagement with local governments. Results of the study The Greater Mekong Subregion 2030 and Beyond: Integration, Upgrading, Cities, and Connectivity will be presented, particularly on the role of cities as it relates to economic corridor development.
Sessions under “community” will tackle labor migration and gender equality. The session will facilitate discussions on issues on cross-border mobility and efforts to promote safe and regular migration along the GMS economic corridors in the context of COVID-19. A presentation will be delivered on the “Economic Corridors Development: Key to Enhance Gender equality and women’s empowerment in the GMS.”
The GMS 12th Economic Corridors Forum was held via videoconference on 22 November with the theme “Enhancing Connectivity, Competitiveness, and Community1 Along the GMS Economic Corridors: Vital Means Toward Economic Recovery and Sustained Growth.” The Government of Viet Nam hosted the Forum. The ECF-12 emphasized the 3 Cs of the GMS Program–“Connectivity, Competitiveness, and Community,” with sessions organized under these themes.
Sessions under “Connectivity” discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the GMS Cross Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (CBTA) Early Harvest implementation, and underscored the need to set the Early Harvest back on track and refresh the vision of a subregional free market for transport services envisaged under the CBTA. The preliminary findings of the ongoing scoping study on “Enhancing Trade and Investment Facilitation and Liberalization: Collaboration through the GMS Program” emphasized mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and jumpstarting the recovery process by promoting digitalization, improving business climate, capacity building to maximize free trade agreements, and strengthening institutional mechanisms.
Sessions under “Competitiveness” focused on the role of local governments and cities in the development of economic corridors. In line with the GMS-2030, the GMS Governors’ Forum will be further strengthened while a scoping study on deeper engagement of the GMS Program with local governments is planned. A section of the study, The GMS 2030 and Beyond: Integration, Upgrading, Cities, and Connectivity, dealing with “Cities as Engines of Growth for GMS” urges policymakers to pay attention to factors that underpin how efficiently the city system operates and better connect GMS cities to each other.
Sessions under “Community” tackled labor migration and gender equality with presentations on “Integrating Human Mobility into Cross-Border Trade, Trade Facilitation, and Border Management during COVID-19” and “Economic Corridors Development: Key to Enhance Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the GMS.”
The meeting was attended by GMS Senior Officials, including senior officers from relevant Ministries and agencies of the GMS countries, the GMS Business Council, GMS Freight Transport Association, the Greater Mekong Railway Association, the Mekong Institute, Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Secretariat, private sector organizations and development partners.
1Under the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030), the order of the 3 Cs have been amended to the following: “Community, Connectivity, and Competitiveness”.