The Secretary General of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) has said, the regional organization is going to be more functional and effective for the collective development of this region, as the fourth summit was successful.
M Shahidul Islam made the statement while addressing a post-summit press conference held at its Headquarters in Dhaka on Monday afternoon.
In all aspects, the fourth summit was successful. All the heads of the member states affirmed the solemn commitment to making the Bay of Bengal Region peaceful, prosperous and sustainable by building on common strengths through collective efforts, said M Shahidul Islam.
August 30-31, the long desired fourth summit of BIMSTEC was held at Kathmandu in Nepal with the signing of the 18-point Kathmandu Declaration which underscores the importance of multidimensional connectivity as a key to economic integration for shared prosperity of this region.
The declaration also focused on promoting regional connectivity, energy, free trade and combating terrorism under the framework of the BIMSTEC. The summit is seen as a key progress as it was the fourth summit after the establishment of BIMSTEC in 1997 through the Bangkok declaration.
The third summit was held in 2014 in Myanmar. BIMSTEC Secretary General M Shahidul Islam said, for the first time, the member states agreed to establish a BIMSTEC Development Fund (BDF) for research and planning of BIMSTEC and financing projects, programmes and other activities.

Besides, a BIMSTEC Permanent Working Committee to deal with administrative and financial matters of the Secretariat will be formed as per the declaration.

M Shahidul Islam said, The fourth summit has opened new paths for comprehensive and collective efforts for the shared development of this region.

Replying to a query about the Rohingya issue, M Shahidul Islam said, as BIMSTEC is a technical and economic cooperation and no member state had brought the agenda, there was no discussion on that issue in the summit.

As SAARC is an example of stalemate of regional cooperation, how BIMSTEC will progress, in reply to the query, he said,
All member states have shown keen for cooperation. We are hopeful that the member states will act upon the declaration.

Staff Correspondent