A two day conference on the theme ‘Delivering Inclusive and Sustainable Development’ was held on the 9th and 10th of April. The event was organized by the Colombo based South Asia Policy and Research Institute, an independent, non-partisan ‘think tank’ in partnership with the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, and the Club de Madrid.
A galaxy of former Heads of Government and academics from the region and beyond made presentations at the symposium at New Delhi’s Taj Mahal Hotel. Among them were four -former Presidents HE Andrés Pastrana Arango -Colombia, HE President Cassam Uteem-Mauritius and HE Luis Alberto Lacalle – Uruguay. The former Sri Lankan President HE Chandrika Kumaratunga delivered the inaugural address.
Senior policy makers and academics who made presentations were;
- Dr. Yaga Venugopal Reddy- Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India
- Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia –Deputy Chairman of India’s Planning Commission
- Prof. Bibek Debroy – Centre for Policy Research, India and specialist on Poverty Alleviation
- Dr Shahid Kardar – Former Governor of the Bank of Pakistan and Finance Minister of the Punjab Province
- Dr.Shekhar Shah – Director General, National Council for Applied Economics Research -India
- Ms. Priyanthi Fernando – Executive Director, Centre for Poverty Analysis,Sri Lanka
- Dr.Rajesh Venugopal – Lecturer- London School of Economics.UK
- Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu – Executive Director – Centre for Policy Alternatives, Sri Lanka & Winner of Citizens Peace Award
- Mr. Steve Killelea – Chairman Institute for Economics & Peace-Australia
- Prof. Rehman Sobhan – Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh
- Prof. Ms. Zoya Hassan – Dean of the School of Social Sciences, JNU –India
- Prof. Frances Stewart – Oxford University, Director of the Centre for Research on Inequality, Human & Ethnicity,UK
- Lord Meghnad Desai – Chair, Centre for Global Governance and LSE, UK
- Prof. Pratap Bhanu Mehta – President, Centre for Policy Research, India
- Shri. Mani Shankar Aiyar MP – Member of the Rajya Sabha & former Minister in the Congress Government, India
- Dr. Ram Manikkalingam – Director & Founder of the Dialogue Advisory Group , Netherlands
- Prof. Gamini Keerawella – Senior Professor of History, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
- Dr. Daniel Shapiro – Harvard Law School & Harvard Medical School, McLean Hospital,USA
- Mr. Sean Carroll – USAID
The objective of the Conference was to address the challenges of ensuring equitable development for All Peoples living within a country, through inclusive growth.
The colloquium addressed subjects such as;
- Recent Global Economic Developments – Impact on South Asia
- Sustainable Development, Identity and Inclusion
- Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict
- Education and Health Services for All
- Identity and Exclusion
- The State and Inclusivity
- Education-Key to Promote Respect for Diversity
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Chair of SAPRI in her address stated that although most South Asian economies have benefited from accelerated growth and development ‘hundreds of millions of our citizens have been left behind, continuing to live under conditions of extreme poverty and are even becoming poorer’. She also stated that economic development is only one part of the solution. A holistic plan of action encompassing the socio-political aspects needs to be adopted. All communities which have been excluded must become equal partners, having equal rights in the economic, social and political spheres.
She added ‘history demonstrates that economic deprivation and inequality, social differentiation and unfulfilled political aspirations invariably lead to dissent and even violent conflict’. She stated that studies have clearly shown that when all citizens are guaranteed equal rights and their separate identities respected and given free expression, they become a productive vibrant part of the State, celebrating the richness of its diversity, while helping to build a united, strong and stable country. She went on to say that his personal experience in governance has shown that the only magic potion capable of binding peoples belonging to diverse communities into one united nation were Democracy and Pluralism.
Many panellists presented findings from their studies citing examples of policies, programmes and interventions that had achieved equitable development as well as social and political inclusivity and thereby achieved high economic growth, political stability and peace.
President Uteem of Mauritius and President Lacalle of Uruguay gave vivid examples of how their respective countries had been transformed and their economies rejuvenated. President Pastrana of Colombia who held office till 2004 spoke of his efforts to negotiate with guerrilla groups and the delivery of services to the poor
Participants at the Conference from the region and outside agreed that equitable development and inclusive societies were the corner stones of stability and peace of nations. The deliberations threw up a number of ways and means of involving political and social measures, to promote shared prosperity.
SAPRI plans to carry the message of the conference to the eight countries of the region and beyond through diverse events. The conclusions of the conference will be published.
SAPRI’s Research Programmes
SAPRI will focus on a few major themes considered essential for South Asian Progress. They are Good Governance, Inclusive Development, Cultural Heritage, Conflict Prevention and Peace Building and Sovereign Debt
Research on these themes is being carried out by internationally reputed scholars. The outcome will be the basis for distilling key lessons and best practices which in turn will inform a high level programme of advocacy in the region. The research papers will be published and disseminated through workshops and seminars.
SAPRI will undertake these programmes in partnership with leading research institutes in the region.