While tightened control by Viet Nam and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in response to the COVID-19 epidemic may have slowed down customs procedures and trade, the two countries continue to work on easing import/export at the border through cooperation and discussions.
Limited resources did not stop Viet Nam from implementing a quick and effective response against the COVID-19 pandemic. As countries all over the world work to overcome the novel coronavirus outbreak, Viet Nam, a country with a population of 95 million, boasts a remarkably low infection rate of only 271 total confirmed cases and no deaths, according to the World Health Organization situational report (as of 5 May 2020).
Mr. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, cautioned that what makes travel in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) one of a kind is now at risk. This includes travel experiences that define the Mekong Region and small businesses that are unique to the subregion.
The members of the Working Group on Environment (WGE) from the six countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), namely, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, met in Kunming, PRC on 1 April 2019 for the 24th Annual Meeting of the WGE (WGE 24) and attended the Consultation Workshop on Proposed GMS Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Program (CCESP) from 1 to 2 April 2019.
Cambodia and Viet Nam will continue to work together to ensure bilateral trade continues amidst border control measures implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the two countries have enforced stricter travel restrictions to tourists passing through their borders, Cambodia and Viet Nam remain open to the exchange of goods.
Through the use of modern information technology, Can Tho is transforming itself to become Viet Nam’s first smart city in the southwestern region by 2025. By transforming itself into a smart city, Can Tho hopes to further encourage civic engagement, increase competitiveness, and improve the city’s socio-economic development.
A 10-year-plan of the Government of Cambodia will put off development of new hydropower dams on the Mekong River in 2020–2030. The Cambodian government will review a policy to seek energy from coal, natural gas, and solar, as well as energy imports, according to a Reuters report.
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.
As the region works to overcome the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through the GMS Health Security Project is supporting reinforcement of public health security and readiness of health systems in Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Myanmar, and Viet Nam, to face the threats of COVID-19.