Possibilities and Prospects in the Greater Mekong Subregion

The Greater Mekong Subregion is home to more than 300 million people, and its vast wealth of human and natural resources makes it a new frontier for economic growth in Asia. Economic gains over the past decade, however, have also brought about environmental degradation.

As such, the Asian Development Bank, Swedish International Development Agency and Dutch and Finnish governments initiated the Core Environment Program and Biodiversity Conservation Corridor Initiative in 2006.

Devex Early Intelligence learned from ADB Environment Specialist for Regional Cooperation Pavit Ramachandran that the bank intends to extend loans and grants to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to scale up biodiversity conservation efforts in these member countries.

A pool of individual consultants, both national and international, has been involved in coordinating, providing technical oversight and facilitating the Biodiversity Conservation Corridor Initiative, based out of the Environment Operations Center in Bangkok, Thailand. The new investments may utilize individual consultants as well.

Given the wide range of expertise and country or subregional experience required, individual consultancy has been the preferred mode of engaging experts. It has worked so far and the agency has been able to identify and develop core centers or nodes of expertise in the GMS countries, Ramachandran said. He noted that the details of consultant engagement for the investment project will be worked out once the preparatory technical assistance is completed.

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