To operationalize the EAGA cooperation initiative, institutional structures and cooperation mechanisms were established both at the country and at the subregional levels.
The BIMP-EAGA Summit
The annual Summit of Leaders is the highest policy level mechanism of BIMP-EAGA. It is where the Leaders of the four member countries review the accomplishments and provide new directives to enhance cooperation. The Summits clearly demonstrate that BIMP-EAGA not only has full political support but also that Leaders are taking great interest in the developments in the subregion.
The Senior Officials Meeting and Ministers Meeting (SOMM)
At the subregional level, the principal mechanism for consultation among the member countries is the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) and the Ministers Meetings (MM). The SOMM provides the subregion’s strategic directions and general policy guidelines, in addition to drawing the attention of the central governments to the development requirements of the growth area. The SOM is held at least twice a year and the MM takes place once a year.
The Clusters and Working Groups
The core operational mechanism for BIMP-EAGA consists of the four Working Group Clusters representing the subregion’s priority areas of cooperation. Within each cluster are Working Groups representing the priority sectors for development. Public and private sector organizations participate in both the Clusters and the Working Groups. Together they identify opportunities and constraints to cooperation development; establish the sub region’s Flagship Projects; and formulate action plans to accelerate implementation of the Flagship Projects and improve growth in the subregion.
|Transport, Infrastructure, & ICT Development (TIICTD)
||• Air Linkages
• Sea Linkages
• Land Transport
• Construction & Construction Materials
• Telecommunications & Information Communication Technology
|Natural Resource Development (NRD)
• Fisheries Cooperation
• Forestry & Environment
• Energy & Mineral Resources
|Joint Tourism Development (JTD)
||Joint Tourism Development
|SME Development (SMED)
||Capital Formation & Financial Services
|Customs, Immigration, Quarantine & Security (CIQS)
||• Customs Sector
• Immigration Sector
• Quarantine Sector
• Security Sector
The National Secretariats
BIMP-EAGA initially had a fully decentralized institutional structure without a central secretariat. To ensure that in-country initiatives were sustained, each member country designated a ministry or government agency to serve as its BIMP-EAGA National Secretariat. The National Secretariats mainly coordinate in-country EAGA activities and ensure that commitments are delivered on a timely basis. The National Secretariats also provide technical and administrative support to their respective Senior Officials and Ministers.
BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Center
The fully decentralized structure gave BIMP-EAGA the flexibility it needed in its formative stages. However, with the anticipated increase in development projects and the growing interest from a number of external partners, the SOMM agreed to create the BIMP-EAGA Facilitation Center (BIMP-FC).
The BIMP-FC is an important component of the concerted effort to revive the EAGA initiative. BIMP-FC is designed to accelerate cooperation development in BIMP-EAGA by establishing more structured institutional coordination and project facilitation mechanisms. The terms of reference of BIMP-FC include:
• Undertaking, jointly with the private sector, investment promotion and business networking activities;
• Establishing and maintaining an information database;
• Coordinating the promotion of trade-related events;
• Establishing systems and undertaking monitoring of project implementation activities; and
• Assisting the private sector in resolving issues related to the implementation of projects.
The BIMP-FC is public sector-led central secretariat. It complements the efforts of the BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC) in coordinating trade and investment activities, and in facilitating the implementation and monitoring of priority development projects.
The BIMP-FC also functions as the secretariat for the SOMM. Originally hosted and funded by the Federal Government of Malaysia and the State Government of Sabah, the four member governments of BIMP-EAGA now jointly fund the operations of the BIMP-EAGA FC.
BIMP EAGA Business Council
The BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC), formerly known as the East ASEAN Business Council, was established on 19 November 1994. It is the official representative organization of the private sector in EAGA. In recognition of its standing as an equal partner in the development of the subregion, BEBC was accorded “fifth country” status in 1997.
As the unified voice of the EAGA private sector, BEBC brings directly to the attention of the participating governments the concerns and views of the private sector. A Board of Directors governs BEBC composed of three directors from the designated focal private sector organizations. A Chairman leads the Board and a Deputy Chairman serving as the Executive Director are elected to serve three-year terms. Chairmanship of the Board is rotated among the four countries. The objectives of BEBC are to:
• Promote economic development and other business activities in EAGA;
• Foster closer relationships and economic cooperation among business organizations in the EAGA;
• Deal with issues of common concern and disseminate pertinent information;
• Make representations on behalf of the BEBC’s members with the involved governments and to liaison between businesses, other economic entities and relevant governments authorities within EAGA; and
• Advocate for policies, plans, projects and regulatory changes.
In 2003, BEBC successfully carried out its organizational restructuring, and is now re-focusing its attention on the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).