On June 14 and 15 the Centre for Economic and Social Development co-organised a conference at the Park Royal hotel in Yangon on how to Advance BIMSTEC Cooperation together with the Delhi Policy Group (DPG), the Asia Foundation and the Myanmar Institute of Strategic and International Studies (MISIS).
The conference was attended by representatives from government, business and civil society from the BIMSTEC countries and addressed policy areas such as Trade and Economic Integration, Multi-modal Connectivity, Energy, People to People contact as well as other pertinent topics such as Gender, Food Security and Climate Resilience.
The conference was opened by welcome remarks from H.E. Vikram Misri, Ambassador of India to Myanmar, U Khin Zaw, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MoALI), and Daw Naw Mutakapaw, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Commerce (MoC) among other key representatives from CESD, DPG and MISIS. 33 experts and other key representatives delivered presentations in a total of four sessions including CESD’s Executive Director, Dr. Zaw Oo who heralded agriculture (with a special focus on beans and pulses) as a potential channel for further cooperation in the BIMSTEC context.
Participants were divided into groups and discussed different policy areas to come up with policy recommendations which would be later presented to key stakeholders from the BIMSTEC member states as a means to further increase collaboration and cooperation. The conference ended with representatives from each group presenting their findings and providing necessary strategic recommendations accordingly.
The event was a part of an ongoing series of seminars on advancing BIMSTEC cooperation with the next conference scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka. BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) is a regional organisation formed in 1997 for cooperation between member countries Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Myanmar joined the BIMSTEC alliance in December 1997.