Mekong River nations adopt action plan for development

March 31st, 2008 - 7:21 pm ICT by admin  

Vientiane, March 31 (Xinhua) The six-nation Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) group Monday wrapped up its two-day summit in this Laos capital, endorsing a five-year action plan to boost regional growth. The prime ministers of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, connected by the Mekong River, announced the Vientiane Action Plan for 2008-12 committing themselves to reducing poverty, promoting social development and ensuring conservation of ecology.

“The new GMS plan of action we have adopted today will help us transform the Mekong subregion into a hub of development in Asia,” said Lao Deputy Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

“The GMS programme is an important part of that success story, and a testament to the role regional cooperation and integration can play in helping drive growth and reduce poverty,” he said.

The leaders agreed that improved and greater connectivity would be a key factor in the realisation of the action plan.

Under the action plan, the six nations are to speed up construction and improvement of GMS transport corridors, including a rail link between Singapore and the Chinese city of Kunming.

The plan also envisaged building rural communications network, development of bio fuel and renewable energy sources for rural population while laying stress on forest protection and sustainable management of natural and cultural tourism sites.

The document noted that the completion of a new subregional telecommunications link would lay the foundation of a GMS Information Superhighway Network (ISN) that will help spur growth and development.

Since its inception in 1992, the GMS has developed into one of the fastest growing regions of the world, with an average gross domestic product growth of over 6 percent in recent years.

Over the past 15 years, approximately $10 billion in investments have been made in 34 regional development projects.

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