(MPI) - In the framework of the activities of the Greater Mekong Subregion Cooperation (GMS) in 2020, the 24th GMS Ministerial Meeting with the theme: Paving the road for further GMS integration, inclusion, sustainability and prosperity was held in the online form on November 4th, 2020 to review, exchange, approve some contents and documents and prepare for the 7th GMS Summit. Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong is Vietnam delegation Leader.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong at the meeting. Photo: MPI
The Vietnamese delegation to the Conference included representatives from the Government Office; ministries such as: Planning and Investment, Foreign Affairs, Industry and Trade, Finance, Transport, Construction, Agriculture and Rural Development, Labor - Invalids and Social Affairs, Natural Resources and Environment, Health, Culture - Sports and Tourism; Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, etc.
Speaking at the Conference, Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong said, like other countries, Vietnam had to solve many problems due to the negative impacts of Covid-19 pandemic, natural disasters, climate change, and so on. The most heavily affected economic sectors are tourism, aviation, commerce, and services. The economic growth rate in 2020 is expected to be much lower than the plan and set targets. People's health and quality of life are strongly affected.
In fact, with the support and close cooperation of the international organizations, development partners, Vietnam has given quick and appropriate responses, thereby achieving certain successes in dealing with challenges and overcoming difficulties. Specifically, the Covid-19 pandemic is under control. Economic sectors have recovered and regained their growth momentum after a difficult period. The investment attraction, especially foreign direct investment (FDI) have much better results. Vietnam's economy in 2020 is expected to achieve positive growth.
Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong expressed his joy that programs, working groups and initiatives under the GMS framework were still conducted as planned in 2020 taking full advantages of information technology despite the context of many difficulties,. The lessons and experiences in successful disease response, economic recovery, maintaining production and business activities have been promptly shared and disseminated by countries, bringing about practical effects. He also appreciated GMS's efforts in taking quick actions and initiatives to support member countries. Emergency projects and budgets funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and some development partners are of great significance in helping GMS countries overcome difficulties.
Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong said that in the current and future international and regional context, GMS was more than ever a very important and suitable cooperation mechanism and framework for GMS countries to exchange and coordinate implementation of initiatives and actions on the basis of 3 pillars of connection, competition and community. This helps GMS in general and member countries in particular unite to overcome difficulties and challenges, standing side by side with the people of the region and the world for the goal of further integration, inclusion and sustainability in the next decade.
The exchanged and unified documents and contents at the meeting are meaningful to create the foundation, basis and direction for the development of GMS and member countries in the coming period. The Vietnamese Government strongly supports cooperation initiatives and activities under the GMS framework. Vietnam always gives high priority to help localities in the sub-region enhance capacity, promoting comparative advantage, improving livelihoods and quality of life, ensuring fairness in opportunities and level of development with other regions of the country. Vietnam also takes the initiative to work closely with GMS countries, ADB, development partners, domestic and foreign private sector to mobilize capital and build projects to help achieve GMS’s development goals successfully, Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong emphasized.
Overview of the meeting at Vietnam terminal. Photo: MPI
At the meeting, the GMS Secretariat presented the main contents of the latest draft of the Strategic Framework of the GMS Economic Cooperation Program to 2030 (GMS-2030), the draft plan for the period of 2021-2023 to address the challenge posed by Covid-19, including priority initiatives, policy and project reforms in the health, economic and social sectors with the goal of regional cooperation and integration, the report on GMS’s recent and ongoing activities, and the preparation and planning to organize the 7th GMS Summit.
Contributing ideas to the Draft GMS-2030, Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong suggested adding the contents as follows: the roadmap for each field in each period and the set of criteria for assessing the fields’ performance; smart tourism development cooperation through the application of information technology in tourism business promotion, provision of tourism services, destination management and promotion, and development of creative tourism products; cooperation in urban management and industrial waste along the Mekong river to ensure water security for downstream countries of the Mekong river. He also recommended that the construction of projects after the GMS-2030 is approved be consulted by relevant agencies to ensure compliance with the development strategy and planning of each country.
Regarding the Covid-19 and recovery response plan for the period 2021-2023, Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong suggested the GMS Secretariat consider and supplement specific requirements, contents, solutions and priorities in the response plan, and clarify the role of working groups in implementing and coordinating the plan implementation.
Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong welcomed and appreciated the efforts of the GMS Secretariat and GMS countries in conducting researches and organizing forums and conferences. These efforts have helped summarize the experiences and success lessons of the region and the world, and form an important foundation for the development of the GMS development strategy and plan in the next decade. In addition to the findings and summaries presented in the studies, the Deputy Minister suggested the GMS Secretariat consider and emphasize the need for comprehensive connection of the entire hard infrastructure, especially traffic and energy, and the soft infrastructure, particularly common regulations, institutions, commitments/agreements of the whole GMS region. It is noted that priority should be given to the importance of the eastern part of the Subregion with a long coastline near the backbone international traffic routes infrastructure systems which have been almost fully developed.
The GMS Ministerial Meeting is an annual meeting within the framework of the GMS economic cooperation program which is held alternately in the GMS member countries. The meeting focused on reviewing the situation and unifying solutions to promote economic cooperation and integration in the sub-region. On the Vietnamese side, the Minister of Planning and Investment - The focal agency of the Government of Vietnam on the Greater Mekong Subregion Cooperation is the head of the Vietnamese delegation at the GMS Ministerial Meetings.
In recent years, GMS cooperation has been achieved in the fields of transportation, energy, environment, agriculture, tourism, investment, trade and human development, in which the deployment in transportation is the most efficient with the formation of economic corridors of North-South and East-West, and countries having signed an Agreement to facilitate the transportation of passengers and goods across GMS’s borders (GMS-CBTA). In addition, other initiatives and activities have been implemented that bring practical benefits to member countries, including the development of GMS economic corridors, traffic and trade facilitation, tourism promotion, sustainable and inclusive development of the Greater Mekong Subregion, mitigation of the impacts of climate change and other natural disasters, effective protection and development of natural resources, implementation of investment projects./.
Ministry of Planning and Investment