Bangla Thursday, September 24, 2020



The 21st session of the BIMSTEC Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) comprising foreign secretaries of the member states will be held virtually in Colombo, Sri Lanka on September 2.

The foreign secretaries will discuss the role of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in post-Covid-19 recovery and rehabilitation with emphasis on poverty alleviation, food security and uninterrupted economic and physical connectivity in the region.

The meeting will also finalise some important agreements and documents, including BIMSTEC Charter, envisaged to be signed or launched at the fifth BIMSTEC Summit.

Earlier, the fifth BIMSTEC Summit and the 17th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting scheduled for September 3 and 4 in Colombo were postponed due to the prevailing situation arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The foreign secretaries will discuss the new time-frame and modalities of the 5th BIMSTEC Summit and the 17th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting.

"If a physical Summit appears to be difficult under the circumstances, member states could consider the possibility of holding virtual Summit within this year," said M Shahidul Islam, secretary general of BIMSTEC.

Sri Lanka is the current chair of the seven-nation organisation comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

With the holding of the 5th BIMSTEC Summit, the chairmanship of the organisation will go to Thailand.

The foreign secretaries are also expected to recommend a new secretary general from Bhutan to head the Dhaka-based BIMSTEC Secretariat for the next three years when the term of the current secretary general, M Shahidul Islam, a diplomat from Bangladesh, ends on September 20 this year.