Eradication of poverty is the greatest regional challenge
The Chief Advisor of the interim government Chief Justice Tshering Wangchuk attended the 4th BIMSTEC summit alongside the heads of delegations of other BIMSTEC countries in Kathmandu, Nepal on 30-31 August 2018.
According to the press release from the Ministry of foreign affairs, the summit this year is themed “Towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal Region.”
Although the interim government is mandated only to carry out the routine functions of the government and not entitled to take policy decisions or enter into any agreement with foreign governments or organizations, the Chief Advisor participated in the summit on an ad referendum basis to avoid further delay of the summit. Any decision and outcome documents of the summit will be subject to endorsement by the newly elected government.
Speaking at the summit, Chief Advisor, Lyonpo Tshering Wangchuk said that shared geography, history, culture and values provide a compelling setting to work together for common good. He said, “During the last two decades, our collective efforts have led to positive outcomes in political, economic, social and cultural spheres. While all of us agree that we can and must do more, we also recognize that there is a need for more coherence in our actions.”
For the prosperity and peace in the region, the Chief Advisor also shared few priority areas for regional cooperation such as the need to promote trade in the region, regional digital connectivity, need to address security threats through dialogue and cooperation and the need of foundation for regional understanding and collaboration. The Chief Advisor also offered Bhutan’s commitment to preservation and protection of the environment.
Prime minister of the host country Nepal stressed that BIMSTEC member states should accord top priority to take the people out from the clutches of poverty and that no one should be left behind while accelerating economic development. He also said the region has been adversely impacted by climate change. He giving importance to youth and children for a prosperous future and remaining united in defeating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Heads of the Government of all the seven BIMSTEC member states addressed the summit. Summit is the highest policy making decision making body in the BIMSTEC process which is comprised of Head of Government of member states. Three summit meetings have been held till date in 2004, 2008 and 2014.
The leaders of delegation jointly called on the President of Nepal. On the sidelines of the Summit, Chief Advisor also met with the leaders of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Nepal.
The Summit witnessed signing of Memorandum of Understanding for Establishment of Grid Interconnection which will facilitate greater cooperation in energy sector and adopted the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit Declaration. The Summit emphasized connectivity, trade and investment, energy and tourism as keys to economic integration.
As per the fourth BIMSTEC summit declaration the summit reiterates the commitment to the eradication poverty in the Bay of Bengal Region by 2030 in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and call for effective implementation of the BIMSTEC Poverty Plan of Action and for gearing up efforts of all sectors to contribute to the over-arching goal of poverty alleviation.
In transport and communications the summit resolve to establish seamless multi-modal transportation linkages and smooth, synchronized and simplified transit facilities through the development, expansion and modernization of highways, railways, waterways, sea routes, airways in the region and direct our respective authorities to speed up their efforts to conclude the BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement and the BIMSTEC motor vehicle agreement as early as possible taking into account the special circumstances and needs of the member states.
With regard to terrorism and transnational crime, the 4th BIMETEC summit decided that terrorism continues to pose a serious threat to peace and stability in our region and reaffirm our strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and agree to take appropriate measures in this regard.
In environment and disaster management, the summit decided to encourage closer cooperation in disaster management through sharing of information, including early warning system, adoption of preventive measures, rehabilitation and capacity building and agree to build on the existing capacities in the region and decide to establish an Inter-governmental expert group to develop a plan of action to improve preparedness and coordination for responding to natural disasters in the Bay of Bengal region.
In the area of climate change the summit resolve to strengthen cooperation to protect and preserve the environment to address, inter alia, the adverse impact of climate change on the lives and livelihoods of our peoples.
The Bhutanese delegation returned back to the country yesterday after the successful conclusion of the 4th BIMSTEC Summit.
The BIMSTEC member states are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal.
As per the Kathmandu declaration the meeting reiterates the commitment to the eradication poverty in the Bay of Bengal Region by 2030