BIMP-EAGA commitment

The following joint statement was issued last night after the third Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit in Cebu City, Philippines.

1. We, the leaders of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) had a productive meeting on January 12, 2007. We reaffirmed our commitment to further deepen our cooperation within the overall objective of narrowing development gops in Asean and for the realisation of the Asean Community.

2. We exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern and on deepening the cooperation among the BIMP-EAGA member countries in the economic, security, energy, environment, and social and cultural areas, and have resolved to address various issues and concerns facing BIMP-EAGA's cooperation.

3. We were encouraged with the progress achieved in the implementation of the BIMP-EAGA Roadmap to Development 2006-2010, including the initiative to facilitate the accelerated implementation of the flagship projects; completion of the BIMP-EAGA database on cross-border trade, investment and tourism; development of the implementation mechanism for the Roadmap; preparation of the action plan; conduct of joint trade and tourism promotion activities; finalisation of the guideline on pilot-testing Asean measures/programme in BIMP-EAGA; and forging of stronger partnership with our Development Partners and international development agencies.

We, therefore instructed our ministers and senior officials to more intensively pursue, monitor and review the implementation of all the programmes and projects in order to ensure attainment of the BIMP-EAGA development goals and targets set forth in the Roadmap.

4. We recognised the importance of transport connectivity towards accelerating the economic development in the subregion. We commended the initiative undertaken by the transports ministers in improving air travel in BIMP-EAGA with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Expansion of Air Linkages including the granting of fifth freedom traffic rights for passenger and cargo services in the airports of (I) Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam; (II) Balikpapan and Pontianak, Indonesia; (III) Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, Malaysia; and (IV) Davao City and Zamboanga City in the Philippines.

We also expressed our support for the transport ministers' decision to adopt a subregional multilateral or bilateral interstate transport and transit transport agreements in order to further facilitate cross-border movement of people and goods.

We tasked our transport ministers to implement measures towards promoting an efficient and integerated sea transportation system in the subregion including the designation and establishment of priority routes linking the focus areas as well as improving the maritime transport infrastructure facilities.

5. We acknowledged the role of the tourism sector, as one of the primary users of transport services in ensuring the sustainability of existing transport linkages. We directed our tourism ministers to strengthen their marketing programmes and to aggressively promote BIMP-EAGA as a single tourism destination.

6. We recognised the initiative taken towards enhancing cooperation among our customs, immigration, quarantine and security (CIQS) agencies. We also noted the efforts undertaken to simplify, mutually recognise and harmonise CIQS processes to facilitate intra-EAGA movement of people and goods at initially designated ports.

We directed our ministers responsible for CIQS to work on measures to intensify cooperation to facilitate trade by initially establishing one-stop CIQS facilities at designated entry points.

7. We urged the private sector and particularly called on the BIMP-EAGA Business Council to intensify their cross-border trade, investment and tourism activities. In this regard, we called on the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in establishing a BIMP-EAGA Private Sector Development Fund to support enterprise and business development in the subregion.

8. We underscored the pivotal role of our local governments in realising the goals of BIMP-EAGA cooperation and the importance of mainstreaming sub-regional level policies and initiative within the local governments. We, therefore welcomed the successful convening of the First BIMP-EAGA Chief Ministers' and Governors' Forum in Kota Kinabalu on November 9, 2006. We called on our chief ministers and governors together with the private sector to formulate and adopt a common strategic plan of action to further accelerate and deepen economic cooperation and integration in BIMP-EAGA.

9. We welcomed the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative to establish a network of protected areas, productive forests and other land-uses, that transcends across the borders of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia, and which aims to maximise transboundary linkages, promote the expansion of the Protected Areas, maintain forest connectivity, and ensure sustainable land use practices.

We will ensure on effective management, development and conservation of the areas, which they will designate as the HoB, within their own respective legal and institutional frameworks, with full respect to each country sovereignty and territorial boundaries and without prejudice to the ongoing negotiations on land boundary demarcation.

We note with appreciation the assistance being given by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the planning and implementation of the HoB initiative. The declaration/document on the HoB initiative is attached as Appendix 1.

10. We were pleased to note that our collaboration with Development Partners, in particular with the Northern Territory of Australia had been further strengthened. We welcomed the cooperation with the People's Republic of China in the areas of agriculture, infrastructure, natural resources exploration, tourism and human resources development.

11. We urged BIMP-EAGA to capitalise on the existing Asean Economic Community initiative in order to further strengthen its sub-regional agenda. In this regard, we agreed to have BIMP-EAGA as the test-bed for accelerating the implementation of relevant Asean agreements to contribute towards acceleration of Asean economic integration. We asked the Asean Secretariat to assist and to collaborate with the BIMP-EAGA institutions in implementing the pilot-testing measures, including but not limited to sharing its technical expertise and helping in mobilising related resources. We directed the Asean Secretariat to assist in promoting the BIMP-EAGA development agenda among Asean's Dialogue Partners and at regular Asean meetings and foras as well as to secure funds for BIMP-EAGA programmes and projects.

12. We thanked the Asian Development Bank and the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) for the unwavering support extended to BIMP-EAGA. We requested ADB, as Regional Cooperation Advisor, to strengthen its provision of technical and advisory services to deepen regional cooperation and integration in BIMP-EAGA by sharing and transferring knowledge, experience and best practices gained in its support of other growth areas and the assist in mobilising resources for the implementation of the BIMP-EAGA Roadmap initiative. We requested GTZ to continue providing institutional strengthening and capacity building support to BIMP-EAGA institutions, and to assist in the implementation of crossborder pilot projects in trade, investment and tourism.

13. We acknowledged with appreciation the efforts of the local private sector media in increasing public awareness on BIMP-EAGA. We encouraged the BIMP-EAGA Media and Communications Association (BEMCA) to intensify their efforts in disseminating positive information on BIMP-EAGA.

14. Finally, we directed all our relevant ministries at the national government level to undertake necessary policy improvements and support including necessary resources for EAGA's priority development agenda as stipulated in the Roadmap. (13th January 2007)