During the Second BIMSTEC Ministerial meeting held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 19 November 1998, six priority sectors had been identified for BIMSTEC Cooperation: (i) Trade and Investment (ii) Transport and Communication (iii) Energy (iv) Technology (v) Tourism, and (vi) Fisheries

During the Eighth Ministerial Meeting held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 18-19 December 2005, it had been decided to include seven more sectors identified by the First BIMSTEC Summit (Bangkok, Thailand, 31 July 2004), to the list of priority sectors of cooperation, expanding the total sectors of cooperation to thirteen: (vii) Poverty Alleviation (viii)  Agriculture  (ix) Cultural Cooperation (x) Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes (xi) Environment and Disaster Management (xii) Public Health (xiii) People-to-People Contracts


Based on a recommendation by the Thirteenth Session of the BIMSTEC Senior Officials, the Fourteenth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on 03 March 2014 had decided to include a further priority sector of cooperation:

(xiv) Climate Change


The BIMSTEC Leaders at the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 30-31 August 2018 emphasised the need to review, restructure and rationalize the existing areas of BIMSTEC cooperation and streamline the operational modalities for activities, implementation of programmes and projects under BIMSTEC for bringing out tangible results. Accordingly, based on the recommendation by the 18th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting (Colombo, Sri Lanka (virtual), 01 April 2021), the Fifth BIMSTEC Summit (Colombo, Sri Lanka (virtual), 30 March 2022)  approved the following seven Sectors and Sub-sectors of BIMSTEC Cooperation: (i)Trade, Investment and Development (ii) Environment and Climate Change (iii) Security; Sub-sectors: Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime; Disaster Management; Energy (iv) Agriculture and Food Security; Sub-sectors: Agriculture; Fisheries and Livestock (v) People-to-People Contact; Sub-sectors: Culture; Tourism; People-to-People Contact (vi) Science, Technology, and Innovation; Sub-sectors: Technology; Health; Human Resource Development (vii) Connectivity


The 19th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting (Bangkok, Thailand (virtual), 09 March 2023) approved the inclusion of: Blue Economy as a Sub-sector under the Trade, Investment and Development Sector; Mountain Economy as a Sub-sector under the Environment and Climate Change sector; and Poverty Alleviation as a Sub-sector under the People-to-People Contact sector; for adoption by the Sixth BIMSTEC Summit.