BIMSTEC to work on food bank, climate change

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Dhaka, Jul 9 (UNI) A regional economic grouping BIMSTEC concluded its ministerial meeting here today with a decision to push forward an idea of setting up a regional food bank.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand was established in 1997 with its headquarters in Bangkok to expedite economic and technical cooperation among the member states.

The meeting decided that the issue of the regional food bank would be placed at its next meeting to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal in the second half of next year.

It also decided to consider the possibility of regional cooperation in facing the impact of climate change for sustainable development.

''The two issues will be taken to the next ministerial meeting after further review,'' Bangladesh Finance Adviser Mirza Azizul Islam, who led Bangladesh delegation at the meeting, told a post-ministerial press briefing.

He said the idea for the food bank was floated at the BIMSTEC senior officials meeting here yesterday, preceeding the Ministerial meeting that considered 'significant' the two issues in view of the current global situation.

The meeting agreed on the need for a plan of action for the member nations for poverty alleviation and decided that Nepal would take the lead to prepare the plan.

Each of the member countries would organise events like seminars and conferences on any one of the eight MDGs to put forward recommendations on the plan of action. The countries would also examine and share the best practices of one country in poverty alleviation.

The meeting also decided to forge cooperation in training of trainers for vocational education, development of horticulture, expanding ICT to education, health and agricultural sectors to reduce rural poverty, and developing seeds that would help increase agriculture production as well as resistant to flood and salinity.

Dr Aziz said the member countries now understand that the national level initiative would be inadequate to face the current global situation.

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