The ACMECS is a cooperation framework among Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. It was originally proposed by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin at the special ASEAN summit on SARS in 2003.
The aim of the meeting was to utilise the strengths of the individual members and to promote balanced development in the region. It is a sub-regional grouping within ASEAN. Two summit meetings have been held so far, the first in Myanmar in 2003, and the second in Thailand in 2005. The third summit is scheduled to be held inVietnam in 2007.
In preparation for the summit and to expand on possible areas of cooperation, the third Foreign Ministerial Meeting of the ACMECS took place in the Southern Laos city of Pakse on 3 July 2006. The ministers adopted the ACMECS Action Programme for 2006 which included a list of 55 common projects and 241 bilateral projects.
One of the key items on the agenda was the establishment of a contact point and deployment of expert teams to respond to any bird flu pandemic. This Thai proposal was supported by Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Thailand has offered a seed money of 100 million baht for the plan.
During the meeting, members of ACMECS also met with other development partners such as Japan to seek funding for the various projects. How this new subregional cooperation framework would complement or compete with the Greater Mekong Subregion framework is yet to be seen.
Website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand
Foreign Ministers Gather in Laos to Review Cooperation (Thai Press Report, 10 July 2006)
Thailand Region Agrees to Plan to Fight Bird Flu and Infectious Diseases (Thai Press Report, 6 July 2006)
ACMECS Meeting Open in Laos (Thai Press Reports, 5 July 2006)
Regional Countries to Discuss Anti-Bird Flu Efforts in Laos (Thai Press Reports, 4 July 2006)