BIMP-EAGA Ministers to Tackle Competitiveness and Climate Resilience in Meeting This Week

Date Published
November 24, 2022

The 25th BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Meeting and related meetings will have the theme "Support Competitiveness and Climate Resilience." Photo credit: Courtesy of ADB

Ministers from the Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) will meet this week in Pontianak, West Kalimantan in Indonesia. The 25th BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Meeting and related meetings will discuss initiatives to "Support Competitiveness and Climate Resilience."

Senior BIMP-EAGA officials will meet on 24 November, while other officials and sectoral representatives will meet on 25 November. The ministerial meeting will be held on 26 November, and it will be chaired by Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto. (Download the joint statement issued on 26 November 2022.)

In the past 2 years, meetings of the subregion were held virtually, including the 14th BIMP-EAGA Summit in October 2021, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the path to recovery

As in other parts of the world, the subregion struggles to recover from the protracted pandemic as it faces mounting challenges from climate change impacts, rising food and oil prices, and other external shocks. These challenges, however, have not deterred robust cooperation.

Backed by strong macroeconomic fundamentals, BIMP-EAGA has significantly increased its rolling pipeline of priority infrastructure projects (PIPs) to 104, with a combined value of $32.8 billion, from 57 projects in 2017 when BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025 (BEV 2025) was adopted. Despite the crisis, the implementation of priority projects also remained largely on track.

This week’s meetings are expected to discuss projects and programs that support the vision, outputs, and targets set by BEV 2025 as well as a strong recovery.

A cooperation initiative established in 1994, BIMP-EAGA envisions a resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and economically competitive subregion.

Planning for sustainable growth

Ahead of the meetings, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released a pioneering study that maps out and reviews economic zones in the subregion. BIMP-EAGA ministers requested ADB, as regional development advisor, to conduct the study at the 24th BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Belait, Brunei Darussalam in November 2018. The study underscores the need for policy makers and stakeholders to intensify strategic collaboration to make their special economic zones more competitive.

A green city action plan (GCAP) for General Santos City in Mindanao, Philippines will be presented during the senior officials’ meeting. The plan was developed by a team under the guidance of the city mayor’s office with technical assistance from ADB. The GCAP program is under BIMP-EAGA’s Green Cities Initiative, which seeks to enhance the capacity of city managers for integrated planning and management of urban infrastructure. Two other cities in the subregion, Kendari in Indonesia and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, have developed their GCAPs under the program.

A Joint BIMP‑EAGA and IMT-GT Tourism Recovery Communications Plan and Toolkit 2022–2024 will also be launched this week. The plan and toolkit were prepared by the BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Center and the Centre for Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Subregional Cooperation. The plan was developed with the support of tourism businesses, travel trade organizations, members of academia and the media, and ADB and other development partners.