INTERNATIONAL

BIMSTEC to focus on poverty alleviation

Haroon Habib

DHAKA: Members of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectorial Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) have reached a consensus to devise an action plan for poverty alleviation and commitment to establish a food bank in the region.The ministerial meeting decided that their second meeting would be held in Kathmandu in 2009. Bangladesh's finance adviser, Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam, said the two issues would be taken up at the next meeting after further review.BIMSTEC's seven members - Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal - decided that Nepal would take the lead in preparing the plan.They also agreed that each member would organise seminars and conferences based on the Millennium Development Goals to evolve recommendations. The countries would also examine and share their experiences to find the best means for poverty alleviation."Considering the current global scenario, the meeting has renewed our commitment to poverty alleviation and recognised the need for regional cooperation," said Mr. Islam. He said member-countries understood national-level initiatives would be inadequate to tackle the current global crisis.While inaugurating the first meeting, the head of Bangladesh's caretaker government, Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, called upon BIMSTEC to consider the impacts of climate change, global warming and the rising prices of food and energy to tackle challenges. He said: "Developed nations should come forward along with the BIMSTEC member-countries to successfully overcome these issues."BIMSTEC was formed in 1997 and held its first summit in Bangkok in July 2004.
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