Hua Hin, Thailand, 28 February 2009
- We, the Leaders of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines had a productive 5th BIMP-EAGA Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand on 28 February 2009. We discussed current developments and future directions of BIMP-EAGA cooperation and recognized that the challenges of narrowing the development gap and reducing poverty in the subregion remain formidable, particularly in light of the global economic slowdown. We reaffirmed our commitment to the goal of transforming BIMP-EAGA into a dynamic growth area within the ASEAN and agreed to deepen cooperation among the Member Countries and strengthen our collective actions to more effectively deal with the issues and challenges facing BIMP-EAGA development.
- We were very pleased with the results of the mid-term review of the BIMP-EAGA Roadmap to Development (2006–2010). We acknowledged the steady progress in the implementation of priority roadmap projects and took note of the gains achieved particularly in transport connectivity, tourism development, and trade facilitation as well as the ongoing initiatives to formulate agreements to facilitate the transport of goods across borders in the subregion. To further enhance transport connectivity, we directed our Ministers, local governments and private sector to expand Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) facilities in BIMP-EAGA. We agreed to further enhance cooperation in these areas to ensure that BIMP-EAGA continues to be relevant and competitive in realizing the roadmap goals to increase trade, tourism and investments by 2010. In this regard, we tasked our Ministers and Senior Officials to take concrete and expeditious actions to resolve bottlenecks in project implementation and to follow-through with our commitments to support the accelerated implementation of priority projects.
- We recognized the potential of BIMP-EAGA as a food basket for ASEAN and the rest of Asia given its natural resources and endowments. To harness this potential, we agreed to strengthen our cooperation and collaborate more closely in the area of agriculture and fisheries development. We underscored the important role of the agriculture sector in alleviating poverty particularly in the rural areas where agriculture is the primary source of livelihood. In this regard, we called on our Agriculture Ministers to take the lead in formulating strategies and exploring innovative ways to enhance the competitiveness of the BIMP-EAGA agriculture sector and in facilitating the establishment of subregional production networks and value chains in selected priority crops and commodities. We also encouraged our local governments and private sector to establish a joint fisheries consortium in EAGA.
- We noted the growing partnership between the local governments and the private sector in exploring more creative and bolder measures to accelerate the integration of the subregion’s economies and build the BIMP-EAGA economic community. We welcomed the adoption of community-based ecotourism development as a strategy further intensifying partnerships among the local governments and local communities and a means to addressing rural poverty. We urged our Tourism Ministers to invigorate its support for ecotourism development in the subregion and strengthen its promotions and marketing efforts to establish BIMP-EAGA as leading ecotourism destination in Southeast Asia.
- We renewed our commitment to establishing a business-friendly policy and regulatory environment in BIMP-EAGA. We urged the BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC) to expedite the implementation of their expanded consultative platform and emphasized the need to promote a more inclusive and broader private sector representation and participation in development activities. We encouraged our Ministers to have strategic dialogues with the private sector to identify the policy and regulatory reforms needed to hasten the implementation of priority projects as well as to continue supporting the initiatives of the private sector to expand business-to-business linkages and networking particularly in the agriculture and tourism sectors.
- We recognized the role of the BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Center (BIMP-EAGA FC) in coordinating BIMP-EAGA-wide activities including monitoring the implementation of the BIMP-EAGA Roadmap programs and projects. We acknowledged that the process towards legalizing the BIMP-EAGA FC is now at its final stage and we reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen the BIMP-EAGA FC. We directed our Ministers to promptly conclude the legalization process in order for the BIMP-EAGA FC to fulfill its role as a full-fledged sub-regional facilitation centre and central secretariat beginning 2009.
- We looked forward to the signing of the Framework of Economic Cooperation with China and noted Japan’s increasing involvement and ongoing support to cooperation development in BIMP-EAGA. We therefore welcome Japan’s recent policy initiatives for economic growth and development in Asia in particular the promotion of sub-region wide development like BIMP-EAGA. We also noted the support given by the Northern Territory of Australia to private sector development initiatives in the subregion. We therefore recognized the benefits of expanding our collaboration with other strategic partners and tasked our Senior Officials to take the lead in exploring these partnerships.
- We expressed our appreciation to our Regional Development Advisor, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), for its wide ranging support among others, in the development of transport connectivity, trade facilitation, and institutional strengthening. We also thanked the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) for its technical assistance in the strengthening of BIMP-EAGA institutions and development of transport sector as well as promoting sub-regional value chains for priority industries. We urged ADB and GTZ to help in ensuring that BIMP-EAGA achieves its goals of poverty reduction and narrowing of the development gap. We also emphasized the need for both ADB and GTZ to strengthen its support to private sector development including the financing of private sector projects.
- We expressed our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Governments of the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of Thailand for the excellent arrangements and the warm hospitality given for conduct of the Fifth BIMP-EAGA Summit.