|A view of the Mekong River flowing through Can Tho City. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has said that the river's resources should be used in a sustainable and responsible manner. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khuong
HA NOI (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called on all Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) member countries to manage and use Mekong River water resources in a sustainable and responsible manner.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the fifth GMS Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday.
He said that over the past two decades, sub-regional co-operation had made significant achievements, contributing to the socio-economic development of member countries as well as their efforts to reduce poverty and raise people's living standards.
The Vietnamese leader cited Viet Nam's successful implementation of important infrastructure projects such as the Ha Noi-Lao Cai Highway - part of the North-South Economic Corridor, the southern coastal corridor linking Ca Mau with Kien Giang, and a network of roads and bridges connecting Mekong Delta localities.
He stressed that rapid changes in the regional and world economies, plus non-traditional challenges, required more comprehensive and flexible approaches to sub-regional co-operation.
A GMS of prosperity, connectivity and harmony would only be achieved if the 3C strategy of connectivity, competitiveness and community was included in the overall goal for the sustainable and comprehensive development of the sub-region, he said.
He added that sub-regional co-operation should effectively support Mekong countries in transforming growth models and seeking solutions to common challenges.
Dung underlined the need to ensure a balance between the economy, people and the environment in the GMS co-operation, explaining that environmental degradation may ruin economic and human development achievements, and vice versa, sound socio-economic policies would help preserve and promote its natural potential and serve human development.
The GMS was facing a host of major challenges regarding the environment, food, water resources and energy security, climate change and natural disasters.
Therefore, it was necessary for the sub-region to accelerate projects on the environment and human development while paying more attention to assisting member countries to access green growth models while restoring co-operation and sharing experience in managing urban, rural and fresh water.
Along with the Mekong River Commission, the GMS co-operation, the only mechanism with the participation of all of the countries along the Mekong River, plays an important role in helping those countries improve their capacity and co-ordinate with each other for the sustainable management and use of the river's water resources.
The Vietnamese leader also highlighted the need for the GMS to enhance pragmatic talks among its members regarding the opportunities and challenges they faced in order to increase efficient co-operation.
He suggested that GMS countries establish an open co-operation mechanism to take advantage of development partners and mobilise more resources for sub-regional projects.
Apart from co-operation among governments, the business sector and young people should be involved in the GMS co-operation, he said.
Earlier, Thai PM Prayuth Chan-ocha had reviewed the results of the GMS co-operation mechanism through concrete projects, especially in transport infrastructure, which had improved connectivity and boosted trade and people-to-people exchanges.
The summit was also attended by the Lao, Cambodian and Chinese prime ministers, Myanmar's president and the President of the Asian Development Bank.
Participants discussed a range of issues, including ways to realise the GMS's future vision.
Orientations for GMS
The same day, Dung proposed four orientations for the GMS co-operation.
Honesty and sincerity among member states were crucial to building community spirit in the GMS, he said at a leaders' retreat.
During the retreat, the leaders discussed ways to boost the rapid and sustainable growth of the GMS, including the effective and sustainable management of Mekong River water resources.
They highlighted the challenges facing the sub-region, including the development gap among members, international integration levels and matters related to the environment and climate change.
To deal with these challenges, they emphasised the need to implement a Regional Investment Framework (RIF) for the 2014-18 period, integrate GMS co-operation into national development strategies and realise action programmes on GMS economic corridors.
They agreed to promote the development of the sub-region with a focus on assisting small-and-medium sized enterprises and strengthening collaboration in climate change adaptation and natural resources protection.
The leaders also talked about the possibility of co-operation between the GMS and other sub-regional initiatives, as well as the mobilisation of resources for RIF projects.
Concluding the retreat, the leaders approved a joint declaration and announced documents on plans to realise the RIF, the establishment of a regional power co-ordination centre and a GMS railway association, and a report on the 2006-15 GMS traffic strategy.
The summit adopted a Regional Investment Framework Implementation Plan (2014-2018), which identifies 92 high-priority projects at an estimated total cost of $30 billion, 90 per cent of which will be spent on transportation.
Participants agreed that the sixth GMS Summit would be held in Viet Nam in 2017.
On the margins of the summit, a series of events were held on December 19, including a GMS business forum, a youth forum, and a meeting of GMS development partners, with the participation of senior officials and representatives of development partners, including the Asian Development Bank.
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang promised large amounts of financial and technical support for infrastructure development projects in the region, including a $10.6-billion standard-gauge railway, and came up with five proposals on transport links, investment schemes, financial support, promotion of livelihoods and people's living conditions, as well as environmental protection in Mekong basin countries.
Before leaving Bangkok , Prime Minister Dung attended the official launch of the Vietjet Thailand Joint Venture. He also held meetings with Chairman of the Thailand-Viet Nam Friendship Association Prachuop Chayasan and leaders of major Thai groups. — VNS