4th South Asia Economic Summit

Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director, IPS, Dr. Dushni Weerakoon, Deputy Director, IPS, and Anushka Wijesinha, Research Economist of IPS were resource persons at the 4th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES), held in Dhaka, Bangladesh during 22 -23 October, 2011. It was organized by the Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh. IPS was a co-organizer of the 4th South Asia Economic Summit along with RIS (India), SACEPS (Nepal), SAWTEE (Nepal), and SDPI (Pakistan).

Executive Director made a presentation on ” What has been the Role of SAARC in Ameliorating Poverty in the Region?” during the plenary session ‘Towards an Inclusive Growth in South Asia: Role of Regional Cooperation’. Dr. Dushni Weerakoon made a presentation on “Managing Migration and Remittances: A Sri Lankan Perspective” during the parallel session on ‘Managing International Migration and Flow of Remittances: Recent Global Developments and Implications for South Asia’. Anushka Wijesinha made a presentation on “Liberalization of Air Services in South Asia” in the parallel session on ‘Transport Connectivity in South Asia and Beyond: Current Status and the Next Steps’

At the summit, the Executive Director also launched the book ‘Migration, Remittances, and Development in South Asia’, and presented copies to the Hon. Minister of Finance of Bangladesh, Hon. Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation of Sri Lanka, Hon. Special Envoy to the President of the Maldives and Hon. Senior Advisor on Economic Affairs to the President of Afghanistan.

This year’s Summit, held just a few weeks prior to the SAARC Summit in Maldives, is the fourth edition of the three South Asia Economic Summits organized previously in 2008, 2009, 2010 in Colombo, New Delhi, and Katmandu, respectively. The theme of the Summit was “Global Recovery, New Risks and Sustainable Growth: Repositioning South Asia” .

The broad objective of SAES IV was to facilitate dialogue between relevant stakeholders to identify key trade and socio-economic issues for regional cooperation in South Asia, in the context of continuing global economic adversity. Discussions also included the challenges in accelerating trade in the region, issues of food security, migration imperatives, transport connectivity, climate change, regional cooperation on energy security, managing regional water resources, and the role of non-state actors in development and democracy in the region. The final plenary session also discussed the political challenge in delivering on the ‘South Asian Dream’ of closer regional integration towards an economic union.