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Bimstec member states likely to cut areas of priority by half

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 11, 2018-

The upcoming Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation summit is expected to trim its areas of cooperation by more than a half, given the failure of the member states to achieve desired progress on the existing list of priorities.

The fourth Bimstec summit, which takes place in Kathmandu on August 30-31, could significantly slash its agendas to facilitate their execution and bring about desired results, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Post.

The Bimstec member states share 14 areas of cooperation. They are now mulling to bring them down to five.

“One of the top agendas of the summit is to rationalise the areas of cooperation,” said Ram Babu Dhakal, the ministry’s assistant spokesperson, hinting at the possibility of the Bimstec areas of cooperation being reduced to a more manageable size.

The member states agree that proliferation of priorities and areas of cooperation cannot yield results.

To set the tone for the summit, senior foreign ministry officials from the member states are meeting in Kathmandu on Saturday.

The meeting will be chaired by Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi.

“The summit level meeting will take a call on downsizing the areas of cooperation,” said Dhakal, adding that a brainstorming is underway among the member states to develop clusters of over-lapping sectors and put priorities for early execution.

Since its inception, Bimstec has regularly updated its areas of cooperation.

Its current priority sectors are transport and communication, tourism, counter-terrorism and transitional crime, environment and disaster management, energy, public health, agriculture, trade and investment, technology, fisheries, poverty alleviation, people-to-people contact, climate change, and cultural cooperation.

Published: 11-08-2018 08:09

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