Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Planning and Finance Ministers of BIMSTEC member states on Monday reaffirmed their commitment to alleviate poverty from the region and achieve MDGs within the stipulated time.
They also adopted a plan of action on poverty alleviation and issued the Kathmandu Statement on poverty alleviation at the end of their second ministerial meeting on poverty alleviation held in Katmandu, according to a message received in the capital Dhaka.
They agreed to undertake specific measures and programs under some broad strategies such as accelerated, pro-poor and inclusive growth; social development; targeted programs for the poor; increased coverage for social protection; climate change; disaster risk management and good governance in the plan of action. 
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal Narayan Kaji Shrestha formally inaugurated the meeting. 
Planning Minister Air Vice Marshal (retd) AK Khandakar led the four-member Bangladesh delegation to the meeting. 
The other members of the delegation were GED, Planning Commission Shamsul Alam, Director General for SAARC and BIMETEC of the Foreign 
Ministry Syed Masud Mahmood Khundoker, and Minister, Bangladesh Embassy in Nepal Forhadul Islam.
In the Kathmandu Statement, the ministers agreed to incorporate the aspects of the plan of action to reflect on their national plans and programs; promote trade and tourism; improve transportation, communication linkages and greater connectivity. 
They also emphasized mutual cooperation among member states for environmental protection, and conservation and sustainable utilization of natural resources for the reduction of poverty. 
The ministers also agreed to cooperate in technology transfer, capacity building and sharing best practices in poverty alleviation in the region.
In the formal morning session of the ministerial meeting, AK Khandakar presented a paper on Bangladesh’s economic performance, present status on poverty alleviation and MDGs. 
Bangladesh, despite many constraints, has been maintaining a steady growth, Mr. Khandakar said. 
He also said the pro-poor policy of the present Awami League government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina helped Bangladesh maintain track on achieving MDGs and improve all the social and economic indices in the country. 
Referring to the Vision 2021, the planning minister said the objective of his government is to elevate Bangladesh to a middle-income economy by 2021. 
BIMSTEC member states lauded Bangladesh for its success and progress made in the way of achieving MDGs.
The sub-regional group BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation) was formed on 6 June 1997 with four countries of the region. 
Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal joined the group later and the name of the grouping was changed to Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in 2004 at its first summit.
BBN/SSR/AD-16Jan12-10:12 pm (BST)