Sri Lanka has assured support to achieve the objectives of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), the Foreign Ministry said.
The First Meeting of the Permanent Working Committee (BPWC) of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was held in Colombo on 17 – 18 January, 2019 with the participation of representatives from all Member States and the Secretary General of BIMSTEC.
Director General, Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saroja Sirisena chaired the meeting.
The BPWC was established following the decision made by BIMSTEC leaders at the 4th BIMSTEC Summit, held in Kathmandu with a view to dealing with administrative and financial matters of the BIMSTEC Secretariat, BIMSTEC Centers and Entities. This was the first BIMSTEC meeting hosted by Sri Lanka after assuming Chairmanship of the organization.
Inaugurating the First BPWC, Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka Ravinatha Aryasinha reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment towards achieving the objectives of BIMSTEC and to steer the common goals of the organization by strengthening its institutional framework.
Secretary General of BIMSTEC, M Shahidul Islam in his special remarks expressed deep gratitude to the Government of Sri Lanka for hosting the First BPWC. He underscored the importance of the Meeting since it would deliberate on key issues such as the BIMSTEC Charter, Rules of Procedure for the BIMSTEC Mechanisms, the BIMSTEC Development Fund (BDF), rationalization of areas of cooperation and strengthening BIMSTEC Secretariat.
All Member states reiterated their commitment to deploy a Director each from respective countries to increase the number of Directors at the Secretariat. Sri Lanka will be eligible to nominate a Director to the Secretariat in 2020. The Meeting also finalized the draft Terms of References (ToR) for the BIMSTEC Network of Policy Think Tanks (BNPTT).
Sri Lanka, as the lead country for Technology sector, reiterated its resolve to effectively implement the BIMSTEC Technological Transfer Facility in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka also announced that it would host the core BIMSTEC meetings in 2019; the 2nd Meeting of the Permanent Working Committee, the 20th Senior Officials Meeting , the 17th Ministerial Meeting of BIMSTEC in addition to hosting the 04th Meeting of the BIMSTEC Expert Group on Immigration Visa Matters.
Secretary General of BIMSTEC M Shahidul Islam called on Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, on the side-lines of the Meeting. The two senior officials noted that BIMSTEC could play a pivotal role in strengthening regional cooperation, as a bridge between South East Asia and South Asia. (Colombo Gazette)