Greater Regional Cooperation Tops South Asia Meeting Agenda

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Senior officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal are meeting in Manila to move forward on initiatives that can enhance regional economic cooperation in South Asia through strategic infrastructure projects and constructive dialogue.

The fourth South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Country Advisors’ Meeting, hosted by ADB, provides a venue for senior South Asian officials to discuss the implementation of regional trade, transport, IT and tourism projects, and to address issues that can strengthen collaboration among the participating countries, and with other regional initiatives.

“This meeting comes at an opportune time for South Asian nations to work towards the implementation of concrete projects. The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation initiative is at the point where it will yield concrete benefits to the peoples of the region,” said Kunio Senga, ADB Director General for the South Asia Department.

Proposed subregional Investment projects that will be discussed by delegates include the Information Highway project, the Tourism Development Project, and the Transport Logistics and Trade Facilitation Project. Delegates will also discuss strategic issues such as increasing collaboration among the various South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation working groups, flexible membership, increasing country ownership, and closer collaboration with other regional initiatives such as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation initiative was launched in 2001 with ADB assistance to support and facilitate regional cooperation initiatives in six priority sectors: energy and power; environment; information and communication technology; tourism; trade, investment, and private sector cooperation; and transport. It provides a venue for policy dialogue, information sharing and confidence building among participating countries to enable better economic cooperation.