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$540m Mekong project endorsed

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
The meeting was held from Tuesday until yesterday in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Supplied

Environment ministers from the six countries of the Greater Mekong subregion endorsed a five-year environment agenda that includes more than $540 million worth of projects to spur green investments and increase environmental cooperation to help the subregion achieve sustainable growth.

Cambodian Environment Minister Say Sam Al approved the Core Environment Programme Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2018-2022 during the fifth GMS Environment Ministers’ Meeting, which wrapped up yesterday in Chiang Mai.

GMS countries include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China, specifically Yunnan province and Guangzi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The programme, which was launched in 2006 and administered by the Asian Development Bank, is embarking on its third phase. It has already helped lift more than 30,000 people out of poverty in the subregion’s rural areas.

General Surasak Karnjanarat, Thailand’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, said the CEP had been instrumental in building trust and understanding between GMS countries.

“We will work further to strengthen the subregion’s cooperation in addressing environmental challenges together,” he said.

“The meeting provided us an opportunity to take stock of our progress and achievements, share knowledge, and discuss trends, directions, and emerging issues in the environment sector.”

An ADB statement said that apart from the $540 million worth of investments focused on land-use management, waste management, pollution control, and climate-proofing of rural infrastructure, the five-year strategy would help GMS countries fill investment gaps for green growth, mainly through project preparation and financing.

“A green technology platform will also be established to act as a marketplace to connect technology providers with adopters, focusing on technology for waste management, renewable energy, fuel efficiency, climate resilience, and disaster risk management, among others,” it said.

Mr Sam Al could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Srun Darith, chief of cabinet at the Environment Ministry, said the project would improve development in the Greater Mekong subregion.

“On behalf of Cambodia, we welcome and support this project,” he said. “We are prepared to cooperate with all GMS counties to help improve development of the region.”

“Not only Cambodia, but all GMS countries will benefit from this project.”

The CEP has raised more than $100 million in additional financing, including $98 million for biodiversity and conservation, created 2.6 million hectares of biodiversity corridors in seven transboundary landscapes, and trained more than 19,000 stakeholders in more than 500 training and knowledge events.

Ramesh Subramaniam, director general of ADB’s Southeast Asia department, said the CEP had strengthened its position as the foremost environment initiative in the GMS since 2006.

“We will carry forward the key actions determined throughout this meeting to help achieve inclusive and sustainable development in the GMS,” he said.

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