- Excellencies Leaders of the GMS Countries
- Excellency President of the Asian Development Bank
- Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
The GMS Leaders’ Summit, held every three years, is a landmark event of the GMS Cooperation Program, and this marks an important milestone in the history of our cooperation.
In our Seventh Summit today, we endorsed and adopted a new Strategic Framework, the third for the GMS Program. Again, we should be confident that this will guide us in coping with and overcoming a new set of complex and urgent challenges in this decade.
We are certainly starting this new decade under a difficult crisis arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, with its serious and prolonged impacts on public health and the economy. Although there are now glimmers of hope, with the advent of the vaccines, the general expectation is that massive efforts are still needed to significantly control the disease and to bring back sustained growth to our economies.
Moreover, as GMS-2030 has rightly underscored, there are other longer term and broader trends that are now approaching critical stages and threatening the entire world. We are now being warned about the “climate emergency”, and we are already feeling the very real effects of worsening natural disasters. We are also seeing the continuing threats to global economic growth and emergence of unilaterally restrictive and protective trade policies.
However, we in the GMS have shown time and again our resilience and our ability to take practical and results-focused actions to address common concerns. Now, more than ever, we must realize the crucial importance of cooperation and collaborative actions. The threats and challenges that we face have impacts that straddle and spill over borders and, therefore, need joint actions. I believe that our joint efforts have a significant value over and above the sum of our individual national efforts in addressing common problems.
I therefore urge that we all commit to further strengthen our cooperation and to resolutely pursue the strategies and priority actions charted in the two documents that we endorsed today. I firmly believe these strategies are well developed based on thorough assessment in regional and global contexts and adhered to basic knowledge.
However, as we all know, success would depend on effective implementation. We must, therefore, put effort into monitoring progress, constantly assessing the rapidly changing landscape in which we operate and remain flexible in addressing emerging issues.
I wish to thank all leaders of the GMS countries and all those who have contributed significantly to the achievements that have been reported today.
I wish to thank the Asian Development Bank for its unwavering support to the GMS Program through its multiple roles, including as Secretariat and mobilizer of financing. I also thank our other Development Partners and stakeholders for providing support for our cooperation program, including the private sector, whose deeper engagement we will certainly need for our continued success in this new decade.
It has been my great honor and pleasure to host this landmark event. I trust that you will agree with me that despite the constraints of the current situation and of a virtual meeting, the Summit has been a highly successful one as expected.
Again, I express my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your participation and significant contributions. I wish all of you good health. We will meet again at the Eighth GMS Summit to be held in the People’s Republic of China in 2024.
I now formally declare the successful conclusion of the 7th GMS Leaders’Summit.