Regional Conference on ‘Knowledge Sharing on Regional Cooperation and Integration’ and Consultative Meeting on Strengthening SAARC’s Institutional Mechanism

Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director, IPS, and Anushka Wijesinha, Research Economist, IPS were resource persons at the Regional Conference on ‘Knowledge Sharing on Regional Cooperation and Integration’, held in Malé, Maldives, during 8-9th October 2011. It was organized by the Government of the Republic of Maldives in association with the SAARC Secretariat, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Executive Director made a presentation on ‘Vertical Integration of Industries in South Asia’ while Anushka Wijesinha made presentations on ‘Trade Facilitation Issues in South Asia’ and ‘Liberalization of Air Services in South Asia’. All three presentations were based on research studies that the IPS completed for the SACEPS. These research papers will be forthcoming as Chapters in a book edited by Hans Brunner of the ADB and published by Edward Elgar, U.K.

On the 9th of October a Consultative Meeting on Strengthening SAARC’s Institutional Mechanism took place with H.E. the President of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed inaugurating the meeting. The Executive Director made a presentation on the subject and made a summary presentation of the recommendations at the end, which will be submitted by the SAARC Secretariat as a policy document for the forthcoming 17th SAARC Summit in Male.

The conference was attended by economists and researchers in the region, heads of South Asia/SAARC desks of the region’s External Affairs Ministries, former SAARC Secretary Generals and senior officials of the SAARC Secretariat including the current Secretary General, Fathimath Saed.

The Sri Lankan delegation also included Amb. Nihal Rodrigo (former Secretary General, SAARC and former Secretary Ministry of External Affairs, Sri Lanka), Mr. Sumith Nakandala (Director General, Economics Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs), and Mr. Rajakaruna (Director, South Asia/SAARC, Ministry of External Affairs).

The fourth photograph shows Dr. Kelegama with the President of Maldives, His Excellency Mohamed Naseem. In the extreme left of the photograph is the Special Envoy to the President of Maldives, Ibrahim Hussain Zaki.