ADB sends large grant to Greater Mekong development plan

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has granted US$1.4 million to a technical assistance project in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), which includes Vietnam, the bank said in a press release last Friday.

ADB will give the grant from its Technical Assistance Special Fund to the fourth phase of the Phnom Penh Plan for Development Management, which is estimated to cost a total of $1.9 million. China's Regional Cooperation and Poverty Reduction Fund is providing the rest of the finances.

The plan was launched at the first summit of Greater Mekong Subregion ministers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2002. It is designed to give civil servants the skills to manage and promote regional cooperation and integration.

"GMS countries need civil servants to manage wide-ranging development programs and to establish an appropriate policy environment for regional cooperation, but they have limited capacity to provide such management skills," the Manila-based bank said in the release.

The fourth and last phase will provide learning programs a couple of weeks after the launching of the previous stage. Dialogue sessions will be held to promote knowledge acquisition, dissemination and networking for GMS development. The phase will last for more than two years with ADB being the executing agency.

A research program launched in phase 3 will be continued side by side with phase 4.

So far, more than 1,365 officials at different levels have participated in the plan.

"Developing GMS civil servants' capacity in leadership, public policy formulation and implementation, and development management will enhance the meaningful and effective participation of GMS governments in regional cooperation initiatives," Alfredo Perdiguero, Senior Economist in ADB's Southeast Asia Department, was quoted as saying in the release.

ADB, 44 years old now, says its mission is to reduce poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.

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