Mekong Institute highlights global issues as learning points for fostering a more inclusive GMS.

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) takes the limelight as it proactively puts forward a competitive pace and place in the global arena to promote its capacities and resources. Global events have evident impacts to the Region’s development particularly in enhancing cooperative ties. Mekong Institute’s (MI) Mekong Forum 2017, which was held in partnership with Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) on July 14, 2017, in Khon Kaen, Thailand, aimed to look more closely at the future of the GMS particularly the promotion of inclusive development and progress. More than 200 development practitioners, senior policymakers, business and civic leader, and academics attended and shared their expertise on geo-economics and how it shapes and affects the society. 

Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee, Chairman of the MI Steering Committee, stressed the important role of the GMS countries in developing a collective economy and focusing on infrastructure projects – with China providing significant support through its One Belt One Road Initiative. He also mentioned that human capacity resources should be improved on a large scale. 

In addition, Datuk Manickam Supperamaniam, former Malaysian Ambassador to the World Trade Organization, emphasized that strengthening regional ties and avoiding conflicts will substantially contribute to the development of the Region. As an example, he cited that the success of ASEAN is attributed to the collective efforts of encompassing its differences and exploring complementaries to develop a market-based system, and that the GMS is rapidly advancing to the same direction. 

Furthermore, the Forum’s sessions provided collective agreement to further boost collaborative efforts from both the public and the private sectors in order to put the GMS upfront in terms of global trade and investment. This should promote regional integration and sustainable growth for all its members. 

MI’s role in coordinating with its six member countries – Cambodia, China (Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces), Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand – proves to be a crucial position in assuring that the Region comes together to link its members to each other and to the rest of the world. They will be able to further assist one another to foster a greater sense of community for security and prosperity.

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