Six Myanmar youth representatives last week embarked on an Asian Development Bank (ADB) sponsored “journey of learning” through Mekong countries to develop and deliver a youth message at the 5th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit to be held on 19-20 December in Bangkok.
“The journey will help GMS youths learn more about the importance of increased connectivity, improved competitiveness and sense of community among Mekong countries,” said Winfried Wicklein, ADB’s Country Director in Myanmar, who saw the Myanmar youth representatives off at the Yangon airport.
A total of 36 participants from Mekong countries will form the GMS Youth Caravan which will journey for one week from Jinghong in China, through Laos, onwards to the border of Myanmar and Thailand and then to Bangkok via southern Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The participants will then join the 2nd GMS Youth Forum, which will take place in parallel with the Leaders’ Summit on 19-20 December in Bangkok, to develop a youth message and present it to the gathered GMS leaders.
“The caravan will be the springboard for participants to develop the message they wish to deliver at the GMS Summit,” said Lainie Thomas, civil society specialist at ADB.
“The message’s content is up to them, but is likely to highlight the importance of recognising the contribution of youth to the future of the GMS, and the challenges they face in making that contribution.”
The caravan will enable participants to learn more about the GMS Program, its achievements and challenges, while helping them better understand the issues which affect youth, and how regional connectivity can promote development.
The caravan will include discussions with development experts, presentations, and stops at ADB-financed projects related to energy, environment, health, trade facilitation, tourism and communication.
The GMS Summit is the highest forum of the GMS Economic Cooperation Program and helps to set the program’s broad agenda until the next summit, to be held in three years.
The GMS Economic Cooperation Program was established in 1992 to enhance economic cooperation and shared prosperity through improvements in infrastructure, cross-border trade and tourism, greater private sector participation, human resource development, and sustainable use of shared natural resources.
The program comprises the six Mekong countries, with ADB as its secretariat. It has mobilised over $16 billion in financing for nearly 70 infrastructure investment projects.
Participants from Myanmar are Nang Lao Swan Ywat Hseng (Lashio University), Po Po Thaung Win (Yangon University), Su Nay Ni Htay (University of Medicine-1), Loom Sign Aung (National Management College), Htet Aung Hlaing (Myanmar Maritime University) and Htet Paing Soe (National Management College).