A high-level panel meeting of the Second Ministerial Conference on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific, co-hosted by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), began in Bangkok, Thailand, on 23 November 2017. A delegation of the SCO Secretariat led by SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov is taking part in the conference.
Opening remarks have been delivered by ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar, ADB Vice-President Bambang Susantono and Vice Minister for Commerce of Thailand Winichai Chaemchaeng.
SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov delivered his remarks on the first day of the ministerial panel. He updated the participants on the SCO member states' economic cooperation, which is considered a priority of the organisation's joint work.
Mr Alimov said that the ongoing turbulence in the global economy is a serious challenge. "It is only through broad international cooperation that we can launch economic revival and ensure economic and financial stability, as well as sustainable, dynamic, balanced and inclusive growth in conditions of the ongoing economic globalisation," the SCO Secretary-General said.
He pointed out that the economic connection between the SCO member states is based on their geographical proximity, as well as on the agreements, arrangements plus joint development programmes that are effective within the SCO. "The SCO member states are now focused on projects for the development of infrastructure, transport and communications. They are also looking for new forms and ways of regional economic cooperation. This is facilitating the gradual growth of the SCO member states' mutual accumulated investment, which exceeded $40 billion in 2016," Rashid Alimov said. He also noted that economic cooperation within the SCO is based on a network of multilateral mechanisms of the concerned ministries and agencies in customs, transport, trade, investment, banking and finance, as well as agriculture, communications and telecommunications.
The SCO Secretary-General also spoke about cooperation in the field of transport within the SCO and the special importance of the SCO member states' Intergovernmental Agreement on International Road Transport Facilitation, which provided conditions for implementing a large-scale multilateral trans-regional transport project. "This document has created a coordinated foundation for the international road deliveries, and its routes form a common regional network of freight as well as passenger road transportation. The fundamentally important part is that non-SCO states can join this agreement, and some of them have indicated their interest in doing this," Rashid Alimov said.
The Second Ministerial Conference on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific is underway at the Bangkok Headquarters of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) between 21 and 24 November 2017. The participants are discussing topics related to economic cooperation in the vast ESCAP region with a focus on supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Other subjects on the agenda include removing obstacles to greater market integration and enhancing regional financial cooperation.
The conference participants are expected to adopt a ministerial declaration on regional economic cooperation and integration in Asia and the Pacific.