BANGKOK, THAILAND - Government officials, business leaders, and representatives from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are gathering today for a four-day conference to discuss ways to make the economies of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) more environmentally friendly.
According to a report issued by WWF last month, the GMS faces grave threats to critical natural resources, including losing more than a third of its remaining forest cover over the next two decades, and the possible collapse of the Mekong river ecosystems.
"A low-carbon and socially inclusive development future is essential to protect the subregion's natural resources, and ultimately to sustain long-term economic growth," said Javed Mir, Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Division in ADB's Southeast Asia Department.
This may lead to revisiting the policy and investment decision-making systems in the region as well as building effective public-private partnerships to strengthen the economic welfare of the people.
Around 100 participants are attending the 'Opportunities for Natural Wealth Management' conference here that will address clean technology, approaches for valuing natural capital, and financial instruments to trigger environmentally friendly investments.
The event is an initiative of the Offering Sustainable Land-Use Options Consortium and is jointly organized by ADB's GMS Core Environment Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Poverty Environment Initiative of the United Nations Environment and Development programs, the WWF-Greater Mekong, with the support from the government of Norway and the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative.
The six GMS countries are Cambodia, People's Republic of China (Yunnan province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.