At the end of a conference celebrating 20 years of BIMSTEC and 100 of Chulalongkorn University, I was on a panel that was tasked with identifying priorities for the organization. Given there were seven panelists each proposing three priorities and some more suggestions coming up from the audience, there was then a need to develop a rule to rank them. I proposed that we ask what tasks could only be done by a plurilateral organization and give those priority.
For example, lowering of non-tariff barriers affecting simple trade in goods could be done bilaterally or even unilaterally. But creating the conditions for global production networks could not be done bilaterally. Creating the conditions for resilient mesh networks for connectivity cannot be done other than by a plurilateral organization.
And this being about cultural linkages in the Bay of Bengal, many non-economic tasks were suggested. They could of course not be done by any other than BIMSTEC.
So we will see what will be made of the priorities.
Here were mine.
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