Team Member: Shakeel Ahmed
Imagine a New South Asia (INSA) has evolved over the years as a regional network to advance a shared sense of the South Asian vision to promote increased policy convergence on key issues, more regional cooperation, the joint initiative of the government as well as at the civil society level. It seeks to promote the vision of a peaceful, prosperous, just and democratic South Asia. The INSA is run by a Regional Steering Committee, comprising representations from country chapters, core constituency groups, and representations from international organisations with a regional concentration. The day-to-day activities are run by a rotating Secretariat. The current Secretariat is the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), which took over from Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad (BUP). SDPI is responsible for highlighting the integrated solution for a New south Asia and responsible for the dissemination of policy recommendations to relevant stake holders which includes various think tanks at the regional level and government officials as part of the SAARC process.
The core constituencies of the alliance are think-tanks, media and politicians who are engaged in evidence-based policy advocacy by generating new ideas and targeted learning for establishing a people’s South Asia. The network also plans to be active and supplement and would work with existing South-Asia wide networks, alliances, and initiatives and campaigns. Before the initiative was transformed into an independent regional network, it was initiated by a group of active academics, think tanks, media persons, politicians across the region with initial support from ActionAid international. The members of the network have decided to transform the initiative into a regional network. During these years, the members of INSA have conducted research into four thematic clusters: (a) economic management, (b) human rights, democracy and governance, (c) peace and justice, and (d) natural resource management. The books of the series, published by Pearson, were launched in February-March 2010 across the region.
The INSA holds its flagship forum, beginning from 2007, every year as a run up to the SAARC summit, the South Asia Policy Forum, in collaboration with major academic institutions and universities by bringing in top politicians, academics, senior journalists, and leading CSO representatives. At the country level, coordinated by anchor organisations, with guidance and support from national steering committees, the INSA has organized numerous events, including research conferences on topical issues, countrywide marches, revisits of Indian partitions in Pakistan and India, and activities targeted for youth. On the eve of the 16th Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Third South Asia Policy Forum was held from 25-27 April 2010 in Kathmandu, Nepal, with participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka representing a cross-section of policy and research organizations, academicians, parliamentarians, policymakers, journalists and civil society organizations. The Forum was organized by Imagine a New South Asia (INSA), Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics & Environment (SAWTEE), and South Asian Centre for Economic Journalists (SACEJ). Formal deliberations took place in nine technical sessions followed by a roundtable discussion with South Asian politicians and leaders in the panel. The session themes were: Climate Actions: Shared Vision of South Asia; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Trans-boundary Sharing of Water; Climate Resilient Society in South Asia; Low Carbon Society in South Asia; Agriculture and Food Security; Trade, Biodiversity and Development Issues for the SAARC Region; Democratizing South Asia: Role of Media Activism; and Conflict and Peace in South Asia. The finale was a roundtable on South Asia’s Developmental Challenges and Political Commitment to come up with a set of recommendations for the SAARC Summit as well as the overall SAARC process.
For more details: Shakeel Ahmed Ramay at email@example.com