Climate Change is a global phenomenon and its adverse impact has become more pronounced over the years. The impact has wreaked havoc in almost all the parts of the world and the BIMSTEC region is no exception. Recognizing the adverse impact on the lives and livelihood of the people and the serious threats that it poses to the region, the BIMSTEC Leaders agreed to explore collaborative initiatives and enhance cooperation in environmental protection and sustainable development under the Environment and Climate Change Sector.
Further, the Leaders at the Fifth BIMSTEC Summit held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 30 March 2022, approved the rationalization and reconstitution of the Sectors and Sub-sectors. Accordingly, Environment and Climate Change has become one of the seven priority sectors of BIMSTEC cooperation with Bhutan as the lead Member State. The Nineteenth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held virtually on 09 March 2023 has also approved the Mountain Economy as a sub-sector under the Environment and Climate Change Sector.
The Joint Working Group on Environment and Climate Change met virtually for the first time on 06 December 2022. The Joint Working Group Meeting deliberated on the draft Concept Paper on 'Potential Areas for Cooperation among the BIMSTEC Member States on Environment and Climate Change as well as the Draft Plan of Action developed by Bhutan. The actual implementation of the initiatives under Environment and Climate Change will start once the Concept Note and Plan of Action are finalized.
- Mountain Economy
Mountains are very important for the BIMSTEC region as it covers more than 1.1 million square kilometers, constituting 23% of the total land area and a population of 140 million people. As such, the development of the Mountain Economy is imperative for the protection of the mountains and the livelihood of people living in the mountains.
Recognizing the importance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the benefits that can be derived from the mountains, the BIMSTEC Leaders also underscored the necessity of making concrete efforts to ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity; welcomed the concept note on promoting mountain economies in BIMSTEC countries; and endorsed the establishment of an Intergovernmental Expert Group to develop an action plan for Mountain Economy.
Mountain Economy is the only sub-sector under the Environment and Climate Change Sector.