BIMSTEC Summit ends with 18-point Declaration



KATHMANDU, Aug 31: The Fourth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit concluded with an 18-point Declaration on Friday.

Reaffirming the firm commitment to the principles and purposes of BIMSTEC as enshrined in the 1997 Bangkok Declaration and recalling the Third BIMSTEC Summit Declaration (Nay Pyi Taw), the Heads of state and governments of the Sub-regional bloc have 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. They will also remain fully committed to consolidate and deepen cooperation among Member States towards transforming our organization into an effective platform to promote peace, prosperity and sustainability.

The leaders agreed to enhance the institutional capacity of the BIMSTEC Secretariat, including through financial and human resources, in order to enable it to coordinate, monitor and facilitate implementation of BIMSTEC activities and programs. An agreement was also made to raise the numbers of Directors to seven, one from each Member State, in a staggered manner.

Agreeing to intensify efforts to realize the objectives and purposes of BIMSTEC as embodied in the 1997 Bangkok Declaration, they reiterated the pledge to work collectively towards making BIMSTEC a stronger, more effective and result-oriented organization for achieving a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal Region.

They also affirmed that the fight against terrorism should target not only terrorists, terror organizations and networks but also identify and hold accountable States and non-State entities that encourage, support or finance terrorism, provide sanctuaries to terrorists and terror groups and falsely extol their virtues. The leaders reiterated their strong commitment to combat terrorism and call upon all countries to devise a comprehensive approach in this regard which should include preventing financing of terrorists and terrorist actions from territories under their control, blocking recruitment and cross-border movement of terrorists, countering radicalization, countering misuse of internet for purposes of terrorism and dismantling terrorist safe havens.

The BIMSTEC leaders agreed to work together to present a collective voice to safeguard their collective interests for a fair, just, rule-based, equitable and transparent world order.

Towards Institutional reform, they have decided to task the BIMSTEC Secretariat to prepare a preliminary draft of the charter for the organization, building on the 1997 Bangkok Declaration and defining a long-term vision and priorities for cooperation. It will also clearly delineating roles and responsibilities of different layers of institutional structure and decision-making processes, which will be considered by the BIMSTEC Permanent Working Committee (BPWC) and other higher bodies with a view to adopting it by the Fifth Summit.

Likewise, the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Chief Advisor of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Prime Minister of Nepal, the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand have decided to establish a BIMSTEC Permanent Working Committee to deal with administrative and financial matters of the Secretariat and the BIMSTEC Centers and Entities, as well as to prepare schedule of meetings, prioritize and rationalize the organization’s activities.

They also directed the relevant Ministries/national agencies of our respective governments to explore the possibility of establishing a BIMSTEC Development Fund (BDF), at an appropriate time, with voluntary contributions from the Member States. This Fund will be utilized for research and planning of BIMSTEC and financing of projects, programs and other activities of BIMSTEC Centers and Entities as agreed upon by the Member States.

They acknowledged the importance of enhancing the visibility and stature of BIMSTEC in international fora by, inter alia, forging common positions, as appropriate, on issues of common interest and seeking group recognition in various multilateral organizations, institutions and processes.

Furthermore, the leaders emphasized the need to accelerate progress in the core areas of cooperation and to review, restructure and rationalize the existing areas of BIMSTEC cooperation and streamline the operational modalities for activities, implementation of programs and projects under BIMSTEC for bringing out tangible results.

The leaders also conveyed deep appreciation to Nepal for the able stewardship of BIMSTEC from March 2014 and reiterated the commitment to timely holding of Summit and other meetings of the BIMSTEC mechanisms to intensify the process of regional cooperation. Sincere appreciation was expressed to the Government of Nepal for the warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements made for the Summit. RSS