The first-ever Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Program of Economic Cooperation was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 3 November 2002.
Participating in the GMS Summit were the Leaders of the GMS Countries, namely: H.E. Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen of the Kingdom of Cambodia, H.E. Premier of the State Council Zhu Rongji of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Prime Minister Boungnang Vorachit of the Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic, H.E. Chairperson of the State Peace and Development Council Than Shwe of the Union of Myanmar, H.E. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of the Kingdom of Thailand, and H.E. Prime Minister Phan Van Khai of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
H.E. Tadao Chino, the President of the Asian Development Bank, also participated in the 1st GMS Summit.
Cambodia had the pleasure of serving as host and Chair of the1st GMS Summit, and of delivering the Keynote Address.
The 1st GMS Summit was held on the 10th anniversary of the GMS Program. The GMS Leaders agreed that the implementation of the GMS Program will henceforth accelerate, since a strong foundation for economic and political cooperation has been established among the GMS Nations.
The GMS Leaders expressed great pleasure at the achievements so far of the GMS Program. They thanked the ADB for the technical and logistical support that it has extended to the GMS initiative for the past decade.
Discussion of GMS Interests and Concerns
In the discussion sessions, ADB President Tadao Chino briefed the Leaders on the strategy of support adopted by the ADB in its substantial and continuing support for the GMS Program. Each of the GMS Leaders candidly and straightforwardly expressed their views on the GMS in a friendly environment.
The GMS Leaders acknowledged the considerable progress achieved over the past decade in the GMS Area. They agreed that henceforth, the GMS Program should emphasize implementation and practical results.
The GMS Leaders agreed that their respective countries share the subregion’s resources and thus its destiny. Therefore the GMS countries must work together, toward full integration to ensure sustainable development for all GMS members.
We expressed strong support for the GMS Program’s Vision, its Ten–year Strategic Framework, and the 11 Flagship Programs, which are the key means for realizing closer economic cooperation and shared prosperity. We concurred that good progress has been achieved in formulating the flagship programs, the GMS development matrix and in the implementation of individual projects.
Agreed GMS Program Priorities
The GMS Leaders agreed upon the following priorities:
- completion of the GMS transport and economic corridors which tie the whole sub-region together;
- minimization of impediments to tourism and business across the subregion, including new initiatives for Mekong tourism development, study of the proposal for a GMS Visa, trade facilitation, the addition of two pilot test sites for the “One Stop-Service” customs inspection of goods, promotion of regional power trade, and strengthening of the GMS Business Forum to promote private investments;
- strengthened cooperation in human resource development, especially the launching of the Phnom Penh Plan for Development Management in the GMS; and
- Realization of sustainable development by ensuring the careful management of both national and common resources, specifically the Mekong River, and commitment to the implementation of international conventions with regard to sustainable development, including the Kyoto Protocol and other agreements arising from the World Summit of Sustainable Development at Johannesburg.
Other Highlights of Discussions
The GMS Leaders expressed deep appreciation for the ADB’s long-standing support, and invited greater participation by all interested development partners.
The Leaders agreed to intensify actions to bring subregional project opportunities to the attention of development partners.
The GMS Leaders agreed to organize, as soon as possible, a high-level dialogue between the government and the private sector to present the GMS Development Matrix and projects, and encourage private sector investment in GMS business opportunities.
Given the importance of the Summit in determining policies, targets and implementation of the GMS Program, we agreed to hold, normally, the GMS Summit once every three years. The Host Country and Chair of the Summit will be determined by alphabetical order of country names.
The spirit of the agreements reached among the GMS Leaders is enfolded into the Joint Summit Declaration of the 1st GMS Summit.
The GMS Leaders concluded the Summit by underscoring the importance of partnership in development. The Leaders agreed that the 1st GMS Summit contributed greatly to ensuring strong partnerships and collaboration among the GMS nations.
Finally, the GMS Leaders thanked the Host Government – the Royal Government of Cambodia and the ADB for the excellent arrangements made that ensured a successful 1st GMS Summit.