Environment

In the Greater Mekong Subregion, 200 million people in rural areas depend on their surrounding environment for food, water, energy, and income. Forests, wetlands, mangroves, farmlands, and other ecosystems account for between 20% and 55% of the subregion's wealth.

The Working Group on Environment (WGE) provides overall leadership and direction for the subregion's Core Environment Program.


These natural ecosystems – and the food, water, energy and other vital elements they provide – lie at the heart of the development of the Greater Mekong Subregion. How these natural resources are protected, managed, and enhanced will determine the long-term sustainability of its environment and economic development.

Overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, vulnerability to climate change, and ever-increasing natural disasters are threatening these ecosystems. In addition, environmental degradation is posing risks to sustained long-term growth, and could cost a whopping $55 billion in foregone services over the next 25 years if left unchecked.

Unless there is better planning and management, the subregion’s resource-intensive development approach could lead to food shortages, price shocks, health hazards, and environmental damage that impact thousands of families and put businesses at risk.

To address these issues, the six GMS countries are partnering to protect and enhance their natural capital through the GMS Core Environment Program with the vision of a poverty-free and ecologically rich subregion.

The program is administered by the Asian Development Bank and overseen by the GMS Working Group on the Environment, made up of representatives of the GMS environment ministries. The work is coordinated by the GMS Environment Operations Center, which is hosted by ADB’s Thailand Resident Mission.

With support from this program, countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion are working to meet the increasing demand for food, energy, water, and other natural resources, while at the same time ensuring that resources are available for future generations. This includes balancing rapid growth with sustainable practices, and protecting vital water resources, controlling floods, preserving biodiversity and critical ecosystems, and mitigating the impacts of urban expansion.

At the 5th GMS Environment Ministers' Meeting in Chiang Mai from 30 January to 1 February 2018, the ministers endorsed the Core Environment Program Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2018-2022.

Related

Summary of Proceedings

GMS Core Environment Program website

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Srinivasan Ancha
    Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Pavit Ramachandran
    Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division,
    East Asia Department

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Rhodora Concepcion
    Thailand Resident Mission,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Rafaelita Jamon
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.

Mekong River Commission Joint Committee Endorses Basin Development Strategy

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) Joint Committee endorsed ad-referendum the 10-year Basin Development Strategy. The Strategy aims to guide Mekong River Basin stakeholders in addressing environmental, social, and economic issues arising from climate change, water resource development projects, and population increase. Its endorsement paves the way for a final consideration and approval by the MRC’s council of ministers. 

GMS in the News

WebGIS Map Monitoring Mekong Delta’s River Banks and Coastline

Viet Nam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development introduced a WebGIS (geographic information systems) map to monitor the Mekong Delta’s river banks and coastline in June 2018. The WebGIS map has currently received updated data from 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta. 

The tool aims to help provide information about landslides, including length, depth, influences on the environment, and impact on residents. It can help deliver warnings and disseminate information in advance. It uses map-based data, and can include pictures and videos.  

GMS in the News

Climate Resilient Rural Infrastructure Project in Northern Viet Nam Successfully Promotes Application of Bioengineering Techniques

Viet Nam is a hazard-prone country. Its 3,260-kilometer coastline is regularly exposed to typhoons, floods, drought, coastal erosion, and landslides. This poses significant threats to roads, embankments, and water supply infrastructure. An estimated 97% of average annual economic losses from natural hazards is caused by flooding. 

Projects

The Nam Theun 2 is a 1070 MW hydropower plant on Nam Theun river in Lao PDR. 95% of the power produced by the plant is exported to Thailand and the rest are consumed locally. Revenues from the power plant are used by the government of Lao PDR to help reduce poverty in the country. Photo: ADB

Lao PDR Highlights Dam Safety as Electricity Export Grows

As the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) increases its electricity exports, the country is prioritizing safety improvement of its dams. A committee comprising local and foreign experts will conduct dam safety inspections, according to news by the Laotian Times. The Government is also implementing new safety measures and standards.

News

Countries Undertake Assessment of Plastic Pollution in the Mekong River

 

Government officials and university researchers from Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Thailand, and Viet Nam will work together to examine plastic waste leakage into the Mekong River system. The aim is to understand the current state of plastic pollutants in the region and offer policy recommendations to address the challenges.

News

Deputy Director General of ADB's Private Sector Operations Department Christopher Thieme (left) and China Everbright CEO Wang Tianyi (right) after the signing. Photo: ADB.

ADB, China Everbright International Facilitate Clean Waste-to-Energy PPP in Viet Nam

HONG KONG, CHINA (2 February 2018) — The Asian Development Bank today signed a $100 million loan facility agreement with China Everbright International Limited to help a series of municipal waste-to-energy plants in primary and secondary cities in the Mekong Delta.  

News Releases