SASEC Nodal Officials' Meeting
19 Aug 2020
SASEC Nodal Officials held a virtual meeting on 19 August 2020. Delegates from the Governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, representatives of development partner organizations, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), New Development Bank, and World Bank, and staff and consultants of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) participated in the Meeting. Mr. Diwesh Sharan, Deputy Director General, South Asia Department, ADB, moderated the meeting. Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Director-General, South Asia Department, ADB, delivered the opening remarks.
The meeting discussed
- The proposed Action Plan of SASEC Initiatives (APSI), 2021-2023; and
- The proposed strengthening of SASEC institutional mechanisms.
Mr. Tadateru Hayashi, Unit Head, SASEC, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division of ADB's South Asia Department, presented the draft APSI and discussed its strategic objectives and SASEC initiatives. These include (i) multimodal corridor initiatives, which are based on the network of SASEC Road Corridors in the SASEC Operational Plan 2016-2025 Update; (ii) sectoral initiatives, such as energy and trade facilitation measures; and (iii) new initiatives in response to opportunities arising from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), such as supply chain mapping and leveraging the use of digital technology to help the subregion build more resiliency and sustainability over the long-term.
Enhancement of SASEC Institutional Mechanisms
Mr. Ronald Antonio Butiong, Director, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division of ADB’s South Asia Department, presented the background, objectives, and key elements of the proposal to enhance SASEC institutional arrangements. Stemming from a strong impetus to bolster the SASEC program guided by the SASEC Vision and the Operational Plan, the proposal recommends holding a regular SASEC finance ministers’ meeting, setting up of national coordinating bodies, and strengthening SASEC secretariat functions.
Meeting Endorses Proposed Action Plan
The country delegations endorsed the strategic directions and approaches of the APSI 2021-2023 and in principle supported the proposal to strengthen the SASEC institutional arrangements, subject to incorporation of comments that have been provided and are to be provided.