Mekong Forum 2015 Modernizing the GMS towards the post-AEC 2015

On July 8th, 2015, Mr. Ban Bunheng, Deputy Director of the ASEAN Study Center, attended the Mekong Forum on, “Modernizing the GMS towards the post-AEC 2015,” which was held at Rachawadee Resort & Hotel, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
The objectives of the forum were:

  • To be a forum for experts and practitioners to share success stories, lessons learned, and innovative ideas on modernizing both the public and private sector as parts of the development process in the GMS;
  • to identify areas of collaboration that will synergize development within the GMS, in ASEAN integration, and other cooperation framework; and
  • to jointly formulate policy recommendations to encourage GMS governments to modernize the GMS towards post-AEC 2015.

The Welcoming Remarks were given by Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, Director of the Mekong Institute, and the Opening Remarks were given by Mr. Viroth Sundara, Director-General of the Economic Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lao PDR. The Keynote Speech was given by H.E. Dr. Narong-chai Akrasanee, Minister of Energy, Thailand, and the second Keynote Speech was given by H.E. Dr. Sok Siphana, Advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia.

The forum discussed to how to speed up preparation among GMS countries for post-AEC 2015,

to promote regional cooperation, and discuss the challenges and opportunities for both the public and private sector. The forum also addressed the current and past development efforts that GMS countries have begun thus far, in addition to current relevant Mekong development policy. It is important to look at these efforts because development upstream can affect countries downstream and can worsen climate change.

Despite that, the forum also encouraged GMS countries to modernize in terms of using more advanced technology. Nowadays people use digital marketing and e-commerce to network with people in different countries and religions. Moreover, the governments of GMS countries need to look at infrastructure, transportation, trade barriers, and policy of this modernization process.


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