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.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $140 million loan to improve the environmental and economic conditions in Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
“Rapid urbanization has become a threat to Guilin's natural resources and sustainable development,” said ADB Senior Transport Specialist for East Asia Nicolas Dei Castelli. “This project will include a number of innovative solutions with demonstration potential, including low-carbon mobility, inclusive sanitation, and institutional development.”
The recently-concluded Subregional Transport Forum (STF-25) of the GMS Program highlighted the importance of behavioral interventions and stakeholders’ involvement to the reduction of road crashes and fatalities in the subregion. STF has been providing assistance in improving road safety for GMS countries since 2011.
Thailand will develop a new smart city in Bang Lamung district, Chon Buri, Thailand. The development is part of the country’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and will be located 15 kilometers from U-Tapao Airport.
Mr. Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, estimates that the new smart city will draw 1.34 trillion baht's worth of investment over 10 years and create 200,000 new jobs.
ADB supports Thailand in responding to the health, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, ADB provided $1.5 billion loan to help the country mitigate the negative economic impact of the pandemic.
ADB is one of Cambodia's largest sources of official development assistance, with average annual lending of $329.8 million from 2016-2021. The bank's support is aligned with the Cambodia's National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023.
This report shows why Southeast Asian countries need to prioritize core sectors ranging from tourism to digital trade as they hammer out policies to boost post-COVID-19 recovery and secure a greener future.
The 5th Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Urban Development Working Group (UDWG) was held via web-based conferencing (Zoom) on 23 February 2022 with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) of the Government of Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) as host.
The GMS Program mission is to focus on its fundamental strengths of community, connectivity, and competitiveness, while embracing the core principles of environmental sustainability and resilience, internal and external integration, and inclusivity, for building a GMS community with a bright shared future.
Greater Mekong Subregion Secretariat
Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
Southeast Asia Department, Asian Development Bank
Address: 6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +63 2 8632 4444 Fax: +63 2 8636 2226