Tenth Annual SANEI Conference, Dhaka, BANGLADESH
Tenth Annual SANEI Conference
Tenth Annual SANEI Conference, Dhaka, BANGLADESH
- 30 Mar, 2010
SANEI, in association with BIDS (Bangladesh Institution of Development Studies) and GDN (Global Development Network) organized its 10th Annual Conference at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka, during 30-31 March 2010.
The Inaugural session which was chaired by Professor Nurul Islam, Emeritus Fellow of IFPRI, was attended by distinguished academics, economists as well as other professionals. The Coordinator of SANEI & Director General of BIDS, Mustafa K. Mujeri, marked the beginning of this session with his opening remarks that summed SANEIâ€™s activities throughout its first decade. This was followed by remarks made by Anupam Khanna, Senior Advisor to the President, GDN.
The RAP Members of SANEI, T N Srinivasan, M Ali Khan, Mohsin S Khan and S R Osmani were the panel discussants on â€œDevelopment Challenges in South Asiaâ€. Finally, the inaugural session was brought to an end with addresses made by the Chief Guest â€“ Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Finance and Special Guest - Mashiur Rahman, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister. The Honourable Minister highlighted the lack of investments in Bangladesh owing to the power and energy crunch. He sought to make public-private investments more attractive and highlighted the need for attracting higher FDI inflows. The minister also sacked fears of the potential build-up of inflation, explaining that the government will be able to cope with food inflation as the country has good food grains stocks.
The stimulating inaugural session was followed by four parallel sessions on 'International Migration', 'Migration: Domestic & International', 'Domestic Migration & Trade in Health Services' and 'Trade in Health Services & HealthCare'. A total of 11 research papers of the 10th Round were presented during the parallel sessions. Each presenter received feedbacks from their respective RAP Member as well as fellow researchers and experts.
Following lunch, Anupam Khanna from GDN presented a paper titled â€œInter-Regional Project on Promoting Evidence-Informed Agricultural Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.â€ Last, but certainly not the least, was the Panel Discussion on â€œEmployment & Poverty Reduction in South Asiaâ€ moderated by S K Malla. This panel session was enriched by T N Srinivasan, Rajiv Kumar and S R Osmani who addressed the progress and challenges in moving towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, evaluated the poverty reduction programs in South Asia and dealt on other policy analyses. The subsequent open floor discussion spurred various views and arguments for and against the points raised.
The second day started off with yet another thought-provoking panel discussion on â€œAddressing the Challenges of Regional Economic Cooperation" which was moderated by Mirza Azizul Islam, Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh. The former advisor outlined the current challenges being faced by South Asian countries in general. Mohsin S Khan, in his speech, focused particularly on regional cooperation between India and Pakistan. Next, M Govinda Rao agreed with the argument that regional integration is pivotal in solving the regional crises. Asoka Gunawardena mentioned various institutional challenges faced due to lack of regional integration and he urged SAARC to play its due role in bridging the regional differences. Subsequently, S K Malla raised questions regarding SAARCâ€™s performance in the past decade. Finally, Rajiv Kumar emphasized on the necessity to identify forces that work against regional integration. There were several comments from participants of the session who expressed their opinions on how Bangladesh is being affected negatively due to lack of regional cooperation.
The remaining six papers of the 10th round were presented, some of which received appreciation while others were given useful suggestions. On both the days the technical sessions were interactive and the presenters were successful in receiving adequate feedback, much needed to improve their final drafts.
Later in the day, GDN team made a presentation on â€œPublic Expenditure Accountability in Education, Health and Waterâ€ that was chaired by Savi Mull and the three speakers were N V Krishna of Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (India), Prithvi Raj Ligal of Policy Research Development (Nepal) and A K Iftekharul Haque of Unnayan Shamannay (Bangladesh).
The Annual General Meeting and the Steering Committee Meeting of SANEI were held back to back in the evening. The RAP and the SC Members of SANEI discussed relevant issues including review of SANEIâ€™s past activities and the theme for the 12th round of research studies.
Overall, the two-day conference was a success and to end it with a warm note, BIDS hosted a dinner for all researchers, RAP and SC Members at Baton Rouge. Some of the participants were enthusiastic to discover Dhaka so they were taken on a tour around the city even within the limited time that was available to them. They highly enjoyed the warmth of the city dwellers and shopped at the local boutiques energetically.