Putrajaya, 6 August 2021 – The 27th Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Ministerial Meeting has been successfully held via video conference on 6th August 2021. H.E. Dato’ Sri Mustapa bin Mohamed, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Malaysia chaired the 27th IMT-GT Ministerial Meeting, with the attendance of H.E. Airlangga Hartarto, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Republic of Indonesia, and H.E. Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand. Also present during the meeting were H.E. Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice-President for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank, H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN, together with IMT-GT Senior Officials, Working Groups members, representatives of relevant Ministries/Agencies, States/Provinces and Centre for IMT-GT Subregional Cooperation as the meeting secretariat.
Prior to the Meeting, the Ministers had a retreat session to exchange views on two keys issues namely, strategic direction of IMT-GT Implementation Blueprint 2022-2026 (IB 2022-2026) and project progress under Sustainable Urban Development Framework (SUDF) in respective countries. Mr. Emani Kumar, Deputy Secretary-General of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability presented the key findings of IMT-GT’s Sustainable Urban Development Framework (SUDF) and also the targets of the next five years. The SUDF Framework is envisaged as an enabling framework to support transformative GrEEEn (Environment, Economy and Energy) Growth in the region. He also presented the multiple green funding opportunities and solutions for the implementation of the green city action plans around the IMT-GT region.
During the 27th IMT-GT Ministerial Meeting, the Ministers expressed their deep concern over the global challenges in battling against the COVID-19 pandemic which has severely strained public health systems and devastated economies across the world. They acknowledged the efforts and progress in vaccination programs undertaken by the IMT-GT countries to achieve herd immunity, as a way to curb the subsequent waves of COVID-19. Commitment to deepen IMT-GT cooperation in all sectoral areas were also reaffirmed by the Ministers to ensure the subregion’s success in bouncing back from the pandemic, in efforts to achieve and deliver other critical development challenges.
Considering the impacts on the food supply chain and the volatility of food prices due to the pandemic, IMT-GT Ministers aim to further explore cross-sectoral collaboration to strengthen the food security and system in the subregion. The Ministers also reiterate the need to promote the Halal economy and hopes to see deeper cross-sectoral collaboration in this focus area as IMT-GT is both a supply resource and production base for Halal products and services.
The IMT-GT Ministers noticed the encouraging development of subregional cooperation before the pandemic outbreak with the average annual growth of 5.2 percent. The Ministers applauded on the increase from USD1,002 billion in 2013 to USD1,287 billion in 2019 for IMT-GT Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The meeting acknowledged the importance of transport connectivity as the backbone of economic corridors. 14 out of 48 IMT-GT Physical Connectivity Projects have been completed while others are under progress in the development phases. The value of the total 48 projects is reaching to USD39 billion.
The meeting also witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Toba Caldera UNESCO Global Geopark, Indonesia; Langkawi Geopark UNESCO Global Geopark, Malaysia and Satun UNESCO Global Geopark, Thailand. Tourism is the focus area of IMT-GT cooperation since it is being hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The IMT-GT Ministers wishes the three geoparks will utilise this MoU for the benefit of their local communities to catalyse post-COVID-19 recovery. The Ministers are confident that the subregion’s strength which lies in its diverse cultures and abundant natural resources, will allow IMT-GT’s tourism industry to make a swift recovery once the pandemic is under control.
As it is the final year of IMT-GT first Implementation Blueprint 2017-2021, IMT-GT are now in the process of formulating the second IB 2022-2026 to further improve its strategies towards realising IMT-GT Vision 2036. IB 2022-2026 will continue with the project-centric approach, focusing on reinforcing regional economic integration and making IMT-GT as a building block of ASEAN. New enablers such as digitalisation and the measures to help IMT-GT to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic, will be introduced in the new IB 2022-2026, while staying focused on what is crucial to the long-term development of IMT-GT.
Despite of the global pandemic, the subregional cooperation still able to record positive progress on its projects and activities. The IMT-GT Ministers recognise the commitment and best effort given by all working groups which have led to several significant sectoral deliverables. Some of the highlights and completions made during 2020-2021 among others are; the establishment of the Working Group on Environment and the completion of the IMT-GT e-commerce platform.
IMT-GT Ministers extended appreciation and gratitude to its regional development partner, Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the full and continuous supports given to IMT-GT. ADB’s enduring support are well reflected in their assistance in supporting the preparation of the IB 2022-2026, developing green cities, fostering tourism recovery linked to green transport, promoting healthy oceans and sustainable marine ecosystems, and enhancing capacities of IMT-GT government officials. In collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat, IMT-GT look forward to exploring how IMT-GT can support the implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework which serves as the region’s consolidated exit strategy from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministers are pleased with the detailed report of the 28th Senior Officials’ Meeting, incorporating the work plans of the respective seven Working Groups and the 18th Chief Ministers and Governors’ Forum (CMGF) held respectively, incorporating the reports of states and provinces in IMT-GT. The Ministers took note of the progress made where it will be adopted by the leaders during the IMT-GT Leaders’ Summit this year.
The Ministers also conveyed their appreciation to IMT-GT potential development partners, such as United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies Centre Collaborating with United Nations Environment Programme on Environmental Technologies (IGES/CCET), and Danish Energy Efficiency Partners (DEEP), for the ongoing support and assistance to IMT-GT cooperation. New partnerships with countries and international partners, are also welcome to accelerate the achievement of IMT-GT goals and priorities outlined in its Vision 2036. The 28th IMT-GT Ministerial Meeting and Related Meetings will be held in Thailand in September 2022.
Read Joint Statement here: 27th IMT-GT Joint Statement