Bimstec officials discuss charter, development fund
A meeting of senior officials of Bimstec states in Kathmandu considered 14 reports on issues ranging from connectivity to counter-terrorism and agreed on the setting up of a new development fund to accelerate several projects.
Foreign secretaries of the member states joined the meeting that was chaired by Nepal’s foreign secretary Shankar Das Bairagi and concluded on Tuesday. The meet recommended measures for strengthening the Bimstec Secretariat in Dhaka that will be taken up at the ministerial meeting scheduled for Thursday.
Foreign ministers of all the member states have arrived in Kathmandu for the ministerial meeting.
A technical team will be formed to finalise the modalities of the Bimstec Development Fund while another team will draft the charter of the grouping.
“The meeting (of senior officials) discussed the establishment of a Bimstec Development Fund, rationalising areas of cooperation, strengthening the secretariat and drafting of the Bimstec charter,” said Bharat Raj Poudyal, spokesperson for Nepal’s foreign ministry.
The meeting also discussed trade and investment, transport and communications, technology, counter-terrorism and transnational crime, agriculture, poverty alleviation and public health.
Nepal is the current chair of the sub-regional body of seven countries surrounding the Bay of Bengal that was formed in June 1997 and will host the fourth summit during August 30-31.
The senior officials also recommended downsizing the number of priority areas and identifying focused agendas so that the grouping can execute various projects. They reviewed progress so far in the 14 priority areas determined by Bimstec, including trade, transport, energy, tourism, agriculture, counter-terrorism, public health, environment and climate change.
The officials also discussed reports prepared by a task force on customs cooperation, a report of the Bimstec transport connectivity task force, the report of first meeting on the Bimstec Coastal Shipping Agreement and the report of the first meeting of the task force on the Bimstec Motor Vehicles Agreement.
The upcoming meeting will discuss the task force on traditional medicines and the establishment of a permanent secretariat in Dhaka.
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