KATHMANDU, Nepal The fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) ended here on Friday, with commitments to enhance regional cooperation in multi-dimension connectivity, counter-terrorism, trade, tourism, investment and agriculture.

The two-day summit noted the eradication of poverty as the greatest regional challenge to development while expressing commitment to work together for the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, said a declaration issued after the summit.

Other areas of regional cooperation outlined by the BIMSTEC declaration are disaster management, poverty alleviation, mitigation of environmental problems, technology transfer and fisheries.

The summit has set out future direction of the BIMSTEC, a regional organization founded in 1997.

Of the seven members of the BIMSTEC, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are from South Asia, while Thailand and Myanmar are from Southeast Asia.

"The summit reaffirmed its faith in the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and pledged to strengthen the multilateral system by reforming its rules, institutions and instruments to make it relevant to the present time," the declaration said.

The summit directed to conclude the Free Trade Agreement, BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement and the BIMSTEC Motor Vehicle Agreement as early as possible.

Expressing commitments to operationalize the Paris Agreement, in accordance with principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, the BIMSTEC leaders expressed concerns over environmental degradation, adverse impact of climate change and global warming on the fragile Himalayan and mountain eco-systems and their inter-linkages with the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean.

With the conclusion of the summit, Sri Lanka has taken the rotating chairmanship of the BIMSTEC and the island nation will host the fifth BIMSTEC summit.

Source: NAM News Network