World Economy

BIMSTEC Committed to Enhancing Regional Cooperation

The leaders of seven nations at the end of the meeting on Friday.The leaders of seven nations at the end of the meeting on Friday.

The fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, or BIMSTEC, ended in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, with commitments to enhance regional cooperation in multi-dimension connectivity, counter-terrorism, trade, tourism, investment and agriculture.

The two-day summit noted the eradication of poverty as the greatest regional challenge to development while expressing commitment to work together for the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, said a declaration issued after the summit, Xinhua reported.

Other areas of regional cooperation outlined by the BIMSTEC declaration are disaster management, poverty alleviation, mitigation of environmental problems, technology transfer and fisheries.

The summit has set out future direction of the BIMSTEC, a regional organization founded in 1997.

Of the seven members of the BIMSTEC, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are from South Asia, while Thailand and Myanmar are from Southeast Asia.

“The summit reaffirmed its faith in the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and pledged to strengthen the multilateral system by reforming its rules, institutions and instruments to make it relevant to the present time,” the declaration said.

The summit directed to conclude the Free Trade Agreement, BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement and the BIMSTEC Motor Vehicle Agreement as early as possible.

Expressing commitments to operationalize the Paris Agreement, in accordance with principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, the BIMSTEC leaders expressed concern over environmental degradation, adverse impact of climate change and global warming on the fragile Himalayan and mountain eco-systems and their inter-linkages with the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean.

  Promoting Synergy

The leaders underlined the importance of multidimensional connectivity, which promotes synergy among connectivity frameworks in the region, as a key enabler to economic integration for shared prosperity.

They took into consideration the importance of trade and investment as one of the major contributing factors for fostering economic and social development in the region.

The BIMSTEC leaders stressed the need for a fair, just, rule-based, equitable and transparent international order and reaffirming faith in the multilateralism with the United Nations at the center and the rule-based international trading system.

They underscored the importance of robust institutional arrangements to effectively steering the process of regional cooperation under BIMSTEC.

In the declaration, the BIMSTEC leaders resolved to achieve leveraging on BIMSTEC’s unique position as a bridge linking South and Southeast Asia, an enhanced level of economic and social development in the region.


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