The Core Environment Program aims at improving biodiversity conservation and climate resilience across the GMS countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, PRC, Thailand and Vietnam.
Since 1992, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided support for socio-economic development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) through its Economic Cooperation Program (ECP). During this period the GMS has become one of the world’s fastest growing regions. Unfortunately, this impressive economic growth has resulted in a growing number of environmental problems threatening sustainable development of the region. In response, ADB has since 2006 supported addressing emerging environmental issues through the Core Environment Program. A second phase of the Core Environment Program (CEP II) began in 2012 with the aim of scaling up the achievements made in the first phase. NIRAS Finland has been managing the CEP Program since April 2016.
With total funding of US$ 22.68 million, the long term objective of CEP II is “improved biodiversity conservation and climate resilience across the GMS” and its intended outcome is “an environment-friendly and climate-resilient GMS ECP.” The program comprises of four outputs: (1) Improved Environmental Planning Systems, Methods and Safeguards, (2) Management of Transboundary Biodiversity Conservation Landscapes and Improved Livelihoods, (3) Development of Climate Resilient and Low Carbon Strategies, and (4) Strengthened Institutions and Financing for Sustainable Environmental Management. CEP II facilitates regional collaboration on environment and strengthens the capacity and fosters ownership of GMS countries to manage environmental and social risks jointly and across borders.
Some highlights of achievements of CEP II by December 2017 include:
Every 3 years the environment ministers from the six GMS countries gather to review progress and set the agenda for environmental cooperation in the region under the GMS Economic Cooperation Program. The 5th GMS Environment Ministers’ Meeting (EMM-5) will be held on January 30 to February 1 2018 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
With the theme “GMS Environmental Cooperation Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Growth” EMM-5 aims to generate high-level consensus from the GMS countries and stakeholders in charting the future direction for strengthened joint regional responses on environment, particularly focusing on translating green growth principles into actions.
Specific objectives of EMM-5 are:
EMM-5 is organized by the GMS Working Group on Environment (WGE) with support from the Thailand’s Ministry of Environment and the Environment Operations Center, which serves as secretariat to the WGE. The CEP II team has the main role in organizing this high-level event, and NIRAS in-house staff member Andre Ban is currently acting as Operations Manager at EOC coordinating the organization of the EMM-5.