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Great Mekong Subregion: Joint Declaration Endorses Ten-Year Strategic Framework

(May 2, 2008) On March 31, 2008, leaders of the Member States of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) issued a Joint Summit Declaration on the third GMS summit, endorsing a Ten-Year Strategic Framework for GMS economic cooperation and providing “key directions to enhance connectivity, competitiveness and community.” (Full Text of Joint Summit Declaration on 3rd GMS Summit (1), XINHUA, Mar. 31, 2008, Open Source Center No. CPP20080331968221.) The six GMS members are China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Declaration notes the progess made in GMS economic cooperation since 1992 and in particular “the significant reduction in in the incidence of poverty” and “the substantial improvement and expansion of transportation infrastructure” in the subregion. It also cites the GMS efforts in the energy sector to build new power generation and transmission facilities, to broaden cooperation in energy sub-sectors, and to establish a foundation for a future subregional power trade and energy market. The GMS has put in place a subregional telecommunications backbone and is in the advanced stages of developing the GMS Information Superhighway Network. In regard to tourism, it is seeking to formulate a five-year plan to promote the subregion as a single tourism destination and to foster tourism-related infrastructure development. The GMS is implementing a program in the agricultural sector “that will further promote cross-border agricultural trade, ensure food safety, and improve farmers' livelihoods.” Programs are already being implemented to prevent and control communicable diseases, the Declaration states.