Ministers Endorse New Environment Agenda for the Greater Mekong Subregion
CHIANG MAI, THAILAND (1 February 2018) — Environment ministers from the six countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) endorsed a 5-year environment agenda that includes more than $540 million worth of priority projects to spur green investments and increase environmental cooperation to help the subregion achieve sustainable growth.
The ministers approved the Core Environment Program (CEP) Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2018-2022 during the Fifth GMS Environment Ministers' Meeting from 30 January to 1 February in Chiang Mai. The program, which was launched in 2006 and administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is embarking on its third phase. It has already helped lift over 30,000 people from poverty in the rural areas in the subregion.
“CEP has been instrumental in building trust and understanding between GMS countries for environmental efforts, and we will work further to strengthen the subregion’s cooperation in addressing environmental challenges together,” said Gen. Surasak Karnjanarat, Thailand’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources. “The meeting provided us an opportunity to take stock of our progress and achievements, share knowledge, and discuss trends, directions, and emerging issues in the environment sector.”
Apart from the $540 million worth of investments focused on land-use management, waste management, pollution control, and climate-proofing of rural infrastructure, the 5-year strategy will also pave the way for a new project preparation facility, which will help GMS countries fill investment gaps for green growth, mainly through project preparation and financing. A green technology platform will also be established to act as a marketplace to connect technology providers with adopters, focusing on technology for waste management, renewable energy, fuel efficiency, climate resilience, and disaster risk management, among others.
The CEP has raised over $100 million in additional financing, including $98 million for biodiversity and conservation, created 2.6 million hectares of biodiversity corridors in 7 transboundary landscapes, and trained more than 19,000 stakeholders in over 500 training and knowledge events.
“Since 2006, CEP has strengthened its position as the foremost environment initiative in the GMS,” said Ramesh Subramaniam, Director General of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. “We will carry forward the key actions determined throughout this meeting to help achieve inclusive and sustainable development in the GMS.”
The event included a 2-day forum on green growth, titled Inclusive Green Growth: Investing for a Sustainable Future, which focused on policy dialogues and events on green technologies, green energy, sustainable infrastructure, climate resilience, and natural resources investments. (Download meeting materials, including presentations and speeches, at the GMS Environment Operations Center website.)
GMS countries include Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China (specifically Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
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.