Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is on a visit to Myanmar for the 6th Ayeyawady – Chao Pharaya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Summit, held in Nay Pyi Taw on 22 – 23 June 2015.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ACMECS was initiated by Thailand in 2003. It has played an important role in helping to reduce the development gap between Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, while expanding growth to local communities and promoting sustainable development in the region. The framework has also contributed greatly to ASEAN integration.
The ACMECS Summit is held bi-annually and there have been five summits over the past few years. Recently, the summit was held in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on March 2013.
In the summit this year, member states will engage in eight areas, which are trade and investment facilitation, agriculture, industry and energy, transportation linkages, tourism, human resource development, public health, and environment. ACMECS leaders will also discuss ways to encourage the private sector and local communities’ participation. In this regard, they will adopt the new ACMECS Plan of Action, which will set a strategic framework for cooperation during 2016 - 2018.
Thailand stands ready to take an active and constructive part in this summit. ACMECS has made significant progress on cross-border transport facilitation, which was achieved in the Third Vice Foreign Ministers Meeting on East – West Economic Corridor (EWEC) Development, hosted by Thailand in May 2015. Thailand will also push forward on the establishment of the Special Economic Zones and connectivity between neighboring countries; the promotion of ACMECS tourism under the "Five Countries, One Destination” concept, and the establishment of "sister cities” to further strengthen cooperation between border cities.
Furthermore, the summit is an opportunity for Thailand to stress her role as a development partner. Over the years, Thailand has provided financial support to her neighboring countries for the development of various infrastructure, as well as educational scholarships and training programs for ACMECS member states, in particular, public health and agriculture.
Thailand and ACMECS members will reaffirm their determination to further strengthen cooperation to develop together, which will promote mutual trust and stability in the region.
The summit will also emphasize the need for the members to expedite their joint efforts in improving the well-being of their people, reducing poverty, and bridging the development gap. These will ensure true benefits for the Southeast Asia region.
Moreover, Prime Minister Prayut will attend a dialogue between ACMECS leaders and the business sector in order to encourage the participation of the private sector in ACMECS cooperation.