BALI PLAN OF ACTION
ON THE REGIONAL AND SUBREGIONAL ECONOMIC
COOPERATION OF THE DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
The present Plan of Action outlines policies, actions and measures of short - and long-term nature to implement the Bali Declaration on Regional and Subregional Economic Cooperation of the Developing Countries. Our success will be measured by concrete and tangible steps taken in the following six areas of operational work.
A. Establish and strengthen regular mechanisms of consultations, communication and the sharing of information, experience and expertise among regional and subregional groupings/communities as well as the identification and implemen-tation of joint projects and activities.
1. The lack and inadequacy of the existing systematic and regular links and mechanisms for cooperation has, inter alia, hampered cooperation between and among regional and subregional economic groupings/communities of the developing countries. The following measures are therefore identified for action:
- Further promote and strengthen regular high-level consultations between and among regional and sub-regional economic groupings/communities with the participation of relevant policy-makers and heads of relevant secretariats;
- Encouraged increased inter-action and foster cooperation among regional/subregional economic groupings/communities within and between regions and establish working relations with each other;
- Enhance cooperation among growth triangles, quadrangles and polygons where they exist, and in this regard encouraged exchange of experience and information with other subregions;
- Promote timely study of the impact of the "economic mega-blocs" on economic groupings/communities of the South;
- Promote timely study of the impact of the recent financial and economic crisis on regional and subregional economic groupings/communities of the South with special emphasis on lessons learned, prevention and management of financial and economic crisis in the future;
- Promote a study on regional and subregional economic integrations schemes using actual data to prove the benefits of and adjustments require for such schemes;
B. Develop supportive network, institutions and human resources.
2. The common characteristics of integration arrangements have been the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers. However, this in itself will not accelerate development unless it is accompanied by cooperation in developing supportive network, institutions and human resources. The following measures are identified for action:
- Develop networking schemes of training and research institutions, universities and centers of excellence in and of the South;
Share experiences in building institutional capacity of regional and subregional economic groupings/communities, particularly in areas, such as, conceptualization, including project identification, resource mobilization, and project implementation;
To promote cooperation and exchange of expertise in the fields of administration and staff training between and amongst the Secretariats of the Subregional economic groupings/communities with a view to maximizing the benefits of their respective experiences in these fields;
Maximize the utilization of training facilities in countries of the South including, inter alia, the Non-Aligned Movement Center for Technical Cooperation, the Non-Aligned Movement Research and Information Systems and the Non-Aligned Movement Centre for Science and Technology, in the development of human resources;
Organize workshops, training and field visits in specific areas of specialization as a means of acquiring knowledge and sharing experiences, and facilitate networking among those who are actively involved in South-South cooperation;
Organize workshops on multilateral trade negotiations and dispute settlement mechanism, such as in the World Trade Organization (WTO), with special attention to the exchange of experiences and information between South negotiators on timely and regular basis;
Undertake training programmes and workshops in negotiating skills and techniques for government officials of the various regional and subregional economic groupings/communities particularly from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), so as to enable the officials to participate more meaningfully in the multilateral negotiations;
Promote the development of networking of common information and statistical data base on the activities of regional and subregional economic cooperation, drawing from the existing arrangements where they exist in the regional and subregional economic groupings/communities or regional commissions through, inter-alia, the establishment of electronic websites with a view to identifying joint projects;
Establish a common database for investment and trade opportunities at the regional level between and among regional and subregional economic groupings/communities and disseminate information about such opportunities, identifying and targeting prospective investors and export markets;
Encourage the publication of annual statistical yearbook of the activities on regional and subregional economic cooperation;
Publish biennial analytical and comparative reports on lessons learned and best practices in developing regional and subregional projects;
Recommend the establishment of "focal points", within secretariats of regional and subregional groupings/communities for maintaining regular contacts and communication with other regional groupings/communities;
Publish a periodic newsletter carrying topical information about activities of regional and subregional groupings/communities in the South, including progress make and difficulties encountered;
Encourage the establishment of regional and subregional centers on the transfer of Technology serving all the subregions in each region and strengthen and maximize the utilization of existing regional centers on transfers of technology, including the Non-Aligned Movement Centre for Science and Technology and the Asia-Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT);
Undertake an inventory of existing regional and subregional training and research and transfer of technology centers, with the view to assessing their impact and identifying constraints to their optimal utilization and making recommendations, in close collaboration with the host government, in this regard;
Encourage regional, subregional and inter-regional cooperation in the areas of science and technology, including bio-technology.
C. Strengthen cooperation in the areas of transport and communication, including building up required infrastructures.
3. An essential prerequisite for effective integration between countries is the cooperation and development of common systems of transportation and communications infrastructure, which assumes special significance in this era of globalization which is driven by the technological evolution in the technology of transportation and communications. Enhanced cooperation in strategic core areas, such as information technologies and telecommunication will also provide a powerful impetus to South-South cooperation and the development of the South. The following proposals are identified for action to strengthen sectoral cooperation in the area of transport and communication:
- Develop transportation networks within and between regional and subregional economic groupings/communities;
- Develop land transport networks through, inter alia, harmonization and standardization of national traffic codes and maximum loads and the removal of non- physical barriers;
- Develop transportation networks by land, sea and air within and between regional and subregional economic groupings/communities and explore ways and means to maximize the utilization of existing networks, as well as evolve measures to facilitate the smooth movement of goods and services;
- Promote cooperation in air transport within and between regional and subregional economic groupings/communities;
- Promote cooperation in sea transport within and between regional and subregional economic groupings/communities;
- Promote cooperation in railway links and network development within and between regional and subregional economic groupings/communities with the view of achieving greater coordination, including technical harmonization of track gauges and signaling between railways;
- Promote cooperation in telecommunications including the development of networks within and among regional and subregional economic groupings/communities;
- Cooperate in the areas of transport and communications especially through the sharing of experience in this area, including aspect related to the involvement of private sector in the development and operations of related infrastructure projects.
D. Revitalize cooperation in areas of trade, industry and finance, in order to enhance inter-regional and intra-regional cooperation.
4. The level of intra-regional, subregional and interregional trade among the South is still very low. It is important to enhance cooperation between and among Subregional groupings/communities through open regionalism. The following measures are identified for action to enhance cooperation in the areas of trade, industry and finance:
- Promote the establishment of appropriate mechanisms including task forces on major issues of interests for the South, including trade, investment, money and finance, commodity, food security and agriculture;
- Promote cooperation between regional and subregional economic groupings/ communities, inter alia, in the areas of preferential trade arrangements;
- Explore supportive mechanisms for regional and subregional economic cooperation by mutually extending reciprocal measures, such as lowering tariff and the removal of trade barriers;
- Promote cooperation of tariff administrators and customs officials of regional and subregional economic groupings/communities with a view to enhancing information exchange and promoting joint customs inspections;
- Promote intra-regional trade through the granting of trade financing facilities backed by regional development banks, including through a common payment systems within and between subregions;
- Promote establishment of regional funding facilities to provide emergency financial assistance;
- Explore the establishment of payment mechanism including clearing house systems and currency convertibility within the participating subregions and where such arrangements exist, assess the effectiveness of such arrangements with the view to identifying constraints and addressing such constraints through concrete measures;
- Encourage establishment of surveillance mechanisms to act as early warning system in various regional and subregional economic groupings/communities taking into account the need to reform the international financial architecture;
- Promote cooperation among the national capital markets and to study the feasibility of establishing regional capital market;
- Adopt concrete measures to encourage intra-South investment in manufacturing and service sectors, including through innovative forms of joint ventures such as joint marketing;
- Enhance cooperation in investment, policies, including, inter alia, guarantee investment policy with the view to maximizing foreign direct investment in the expanded markets provided by the regional and subregional groupings/communities;
- Explore the possibilities of extending and applying industrial complementarity schemes developed in subregional economic groupings/communities to other groupings;
- Encourage harmonization in standards and quality through cooperation of schemes in subregional groupings/communities with a view to facilitating the elimination of trade barriers.
E. Promote the participation of the private sector and civil society in strengthening South-South cooperation.
5. The private sector has an important role in promoting regional and subregional economic cooperation. Effective involvement of the private sector would enhance their contribution to such cooperation. The following measures are identified for action to promote effective participation of the private sector and civil society in regional and subregional cooperation:
- Promote the dialogue between policy-makers and the private sector to develop shared visions of economic development;
- Encourage exchange of visits of private sectors between regions and subregions, and promote their participation in the annual meetings of regional and subregional economic groupings/communities;
- Encourage chambers of commerce and industry to establish partnership, linkages and communication between business sectors from different regional and subregional economic groupings/communities with a view to fostering cooperation and exchange of views and experience among economic actors;
- Encourage measures to enhance entrepreneurial and technical capacity of the private sector and other relevant actors of civil society by, inter alia, providing vocational training, in particular for the development of small-medium enterprises;
- Facilitate inter-subregional networking of chambers of commerce and industry, trade and professional associations and other relevant actors of civil society, such as, parliamentarians, scientists, academicians, young entrepreneurs and scholars and with a view to sharing and exchanging market information;
- Promote the important role of women in business, trade and industry;
- Promote joint exhibitions by the private sector;
- Promote the implementation of joint projects involving co-financing with governments.
F. Promote the involvement and support of the United Nations system, funding institutions and other international organizations as well as international community in strengthening South-South cooperation through regional and subregional cooperation.
6. The various United Nations bodies and agencies, funds and programmes, global and regional financial and development institutions and international community have rendered invaluable help to the promotion of regional and subregional economic cooperation. Particular attention should be given by these institutions to develop cooperation between and among these groupings/communities, with due consideration for the specificities of African economies. The following proposals are identified for action by the international community to assist the efforts of the developing countries in promoting regional and subregional economic cooperation:
- Call upon the international community, including international financial institutions and regional development banks, to provide necessary support in the implementation of this Plan of Action, inter alia, in the areas of infrastructure development, trade financing and investment;
- Invite the United Nations bodies and agencies and institutions to exert their best effort in supporting the objective of this Plan of Action and to contribute to its implementation by providing appropriate support with a view to strengthening regional and subregional economic cooperation through their respective work programmes and within their areas of competence;
- Invite the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to continue and increase their assistance to the regional and subregional economic groups/communities in implementing this Plan of Action, inter alia, in the areas of capacity and institutional building and human resources development;
- Invite Regional Commissions to continue and increase their assistance to the regional and subregional economic groupings/communities in implementing this Plan of Action, inter alia, in the areas of networking, development of common data base, training and research as well as strengthening the linkages between and among regional and subregional economic groupings/communities;
- Invite the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to continue and increase its assistance to the regional and subregional economic groupings/communities in implementing this Plan of Action, inter alia, in the areas of trade, investment, monetary and financial issues, research and transfer of technology and shipping and transportation;
- Invite the think-tanks of the South, including the South Centre, to continue and increase their assistance to the regional and subregional economic groupings/communities in implementing this Plan of Action, inter alia, in the areas of analysis and technical back-stopping on issues of importance to the South;
- Invite the Perez Guerrero Trust Fund (PGTF) to consider this Plan of Action in providing assistance to the developing countries for the promotion of South-South cooperation, bearing in mind the priorities set in its guidelines for project approval.