Kathmandu: A day-long ministerial meeting of BIMSTEC nations, including India, started here on Monday to finalise and adopt regional strategy for reducing poverty in the bloc.
   
Inaugurating the Second BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) meeting, Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha said,

"This century may well see economic power shift to Asia with new powers continuing to grow and making the presence felt in the global arena."
   
"The challenges of sustainable development, safeguarding the environment, stabilising the global population, bridging the gulf between the rich and the poor and ending abject poverty from our region will take the forefront thus necessitating regional cooperation more than even before," he pointed out.
   
Addressing the inaugural session Minister for National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar, U Tin Naing Thein underlined the need for all the member states of the sub-region to work together to reduce poverty which has been drawing global attention in the recent time.
   
He called for regional collaboration in the areas of agriculture, climate change, food security, tourism and transportation for the upliftment of people in the region.
   
The second BIMSTEC ministerial meeting on poverty alleviation is expected to endorse the regional Poverty Plan of Action (PPA) being proposed by Nepal after consulting with the representatives from the member countries.
   
The first BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Poverty Alleviation held in Dhaka in 2008 had decided to endorse the PPA at the second meeting, tasking Nepal with the responsibility to present the draft of PPA by incorporating necessary inputs from other member countries.
   
Sisir Adhikari, Minister of State for Rural Development (India); Muthu Shiva Lingam, Deputy Minister for Economic Development (Sri Lanka); U Tin Naing Thein, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development (Myanmar); Lyompo Wangdi Norbu, Minister for Finance (Bhutan), A K Khandker, Minister for Planning ( Bangladesh); Vullop Phring Phong,
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior(Thailand) and Barsha Man Pun, Finance Minister (Nepal) are leading their respective delegations at the meeting.

(Agencies)