Urban Development

The Greater Mekong Subregion is working to improve the quality of life and economic vibrancy of its cities and towns by using global best practices in urban development.

The Urban Development Working Group oversees urban development and economic zones as new areas of cooperation in the subregion.


By 2050, the Greater Mekong Subregion is expected to be at least 50% urbanized. This will bring vast changes to the economies of the subregion. What was once a primarily agricultural area is transforming into a place where cities and towns are the main drivers of economic growth. Careful planning is needed to balance urban growth with environmental protection and economic equity so that healthy cities can be enjoyed by all residents.

The Greater Mekong Subregion is working to improve the quality of life and economic vibrancy of its cities through the development of national strategies and projects that incorporate global best practices into the subregion’s urban development. This work has included the first and second Corridor Towns Development Project, which is developing competitive and environmentally friendly cities along vital economic arteries in the subregion. Cross-border economic zones are also being developed.

The COVID-19 pandemic inevitably will leave its mark on cities, physically and socially, echoing for generations to come. This is already evident in terms of urban life. The GMS Program will focus on these effects with measures to respond to current and future crises. The GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) will encourage a holistic approach to the future planning of cities so that they are green, smart, competitive, resilient, safe, and inclusive. It will also promote linkages between cities to develop new urban clusters and maximize economies of agglomeration, develop cities in border areas, create linkages with special economic and industrial zones, and improve waste management and pollution in cities located close to GMS rivers and seas. GMS-2030 was endorsed and adopted at the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders in September 2021. It aims to provide a new setting for the development of this subregion for the next decade.

Related

Urban Development in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Greater Mekong Subregion Urban Development Strategic Framework

Second Greater Mekong Subregion Corridor Towns Development Project

Urban Development Working Group

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Alan Baird
    Urban Development and Water Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Andrew McIntyre and Hinako Maruyama
    Public Management, Financial Sector, & Regional Coop Division,
    East Asia Department

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Antonio Ressano
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Alma Canarejo
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.


1st Meeting of the GMS Urban Development Task Force

The first meeting of the GMS Urban Development Task Force was held on 12 July 2013 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The meeting objective was to operationalize the recommendation of the 18th GMS Ministerial Meeting regarding the establishment of the GMS Task Force on Urban Development by: reviewing, refining and finalizing the Terms of reference of the Urban Task Force; and developing its Work Plan. (The meeting agenda is Appendix 1). The first meeting of the Urban TF was chaired by H.E.


Greater Mekong Ministers, ADB Plan Next Generation of Development Activities

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (12 December 2012) - The next phase of Greater Mekong Subregion investments should expand the program into new areas such as multisector investments towards urban development, connecting remote areas with growth centers, and extending existing corridors into Myanmar, ministers attending the 18th GMS Ministerial Conference in Nanning, People's Republic of China said today in a joint statement.

News Releases


Connecting Nations, Linking People

This publication outlines the GMS Economic Cooperation Program (GMS Program) which was initiated in 1992 with the support of ADB. It aims to promote economic cooperation among Cambodia, People's Republic of China (PRC), Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
The GMS Program covers nine priority sectors: transportation, telecommunications, energy, environment, human resource development, trade, investment, tourism, and agriculture.