Sri Lanka Current Affairs

4th BIMSTEC summit concludes with adaptation of Kathmandu Declaration

The 4th BIMSTEC Summit concluded in Kathmandu with signing and adoption of Kathmandu Declaration by all the seven members (India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand). After conclusion of summit, current chair of BIMSTEC, Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli also handed over Chairmanship of next (fifth) BIMSTEC Summit to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. During this summit, foreign ministers of BIMSTEC member countries had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishment of BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection.

Kathmandu Declaration

18-point Kathmandu Declaration aims to enhance effectiveness of BIMSTEC Secretariat by engaging it in various technical and economic activities in the region. It acknowledges importance of trade and investment as one of major contributing factors for fostering economic and social development in the region. It also deplored terrorist attacks in all parts of the world, including in BIMSTEC countries, and strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms.

It also reiterated strong commitment of BIMSTEC countries to combat terrorism and called upon all countries to devise comprehensive approach in this regard. Member countries also agreed to expedite conclusion of BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and called upon member states for its early ratification. It also expressed satisfaction that many member states have ratified BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking.

BIMSTEC countries also agreed to establish seamless multi-modal transportation linkages and smooth, synchronised and simplified transit facilities through the development, expansion and modernisation of highways, railways, waterways, sea routes and airways in the region. They also decided to speed up efforts to conclude BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement and BIMSTEC Motor Vehicle Agreement as early as possible taking into account special circumstances and needs of the member states.

BIMSTEC countries also decided for early conclusion of BIMSTEC Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations, and directed the BIMSTEC Trade and Economic Ministerial Meeting and its subsidiary bodies, including Trade Negotiating Committee, to expedite finalisation of all related agreements of FTA as early as possible.

BIMSTEC countries also called for exploring possibility of establishing BIMSTEC Development Fund with voluntary contributions from member states. The fund will be utilised for research and planning of BIMSTEC and financing of projects, and other activities of regional organisation.

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018

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AESF-IV: 4th Asian electoral stakeholders forum held in Colombo, Sri Lanka

The fourth edition of Asian electoral stakeholders forum (AESF-IV) was held Colombo, Sri Lanka to discuss the state of elections and democracy in the region. This was for first time AESF was held in South Asia. It was jointly organised by Election Commission of Sri Lanka and Asian network for free elections (ANFREL).

AESF-IV

The theme of AESF-IV was ‘Advancing Election Transparency and Integrity: Promoting and Defending Democracy Together‘. It was attended by more than 250 delegates from 45 countries. India was represented by Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra Ashwini Kumar and NGO.

It covered wide array of crucial election issues like current state of democracy in Asia, common electoral challenges in the region, and various good practices employed to make elections better. It culminated with endorsement of landmark document, urging election stakeholders from within Asia and beyond to promote and defend democracy in the region.

Asian electoral stakeholders forum (AESF)

ASEF is the largest gathering of election management bodies (EMBs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) in Asia. It is being held in order to secure the broad establishment of democracy and security when holding elections within the region.

It provides opportunity for Asian election commissions, election observers, non-government organizations (NGOs) and interstate bodies to gather and discuss state of elections and democracy in the region. It also provides platform for institutionalizing capacity building efforts to pave the way for more meaningful and credible election through cooperation among stakeholders.

Previous AESF gatherings were instrumental in setting benchmarks and guidelines on conducting truly democratic elections which respect internationally recognized human rights and election principles and norms.  The first AESF was held in Thailand in 2012 and had endorsed Bangkok Declaration on Free and Fair Elections. The second AESF was held in Dili, Timor Leste in 2015 and had established Dili Indicators of Democratic Elections. The third AESF was held in 2016 in Bali, Indonesia which had framed Bali Commitment: Eight Keys to Electoral Integrity.

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018

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