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Book Release Programme

SAWTEE and South Asia Centre for Policy Studies (SACEPS) launched a book titled Regional Economic Integration: Challenges for South Asia during turbulent times amidst a function on 5 October 2012 in Kathmandu. The book launch programme commenced with Mr. Madhu Raman Acharya, Executive Director, SACEPS delivering his welcome speech. He remarked that the book, which is a collection of revised and updated versions of the articles presented during the 3rd South Asia Economic Summit held in Kathmandu in December 2010, should serve as a reference material for policy makers, the academic community, the private sector and civil society organizations. The book is edited by Dr. Saman Kelegama of Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Colombo and Dr. Ratnakar Adhikari, Mr. Puspa Sharma and Mr. Paras Kharel of SAWTEE.

Chief Guest of the programme, Mr. Lal Mani Joshi, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, Government of Nepal, released the book and commended the efforts of the publishers for bringing out the volume highlighting the challenges faced by the countries in the South Asia region in better connecting themselves. Mr. Joshi also thanked SAWTEE for the support it has been providing to the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies through research, advocacy and capacity building, among others.

Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director, IPS, and the lead editor of the book, summarized and highlighted the themes and issues covered in the book. He stressed the need, among others, for creating a Least Developed Countries (LDC) Integration Fund in South Asia so as to empower relatively poor countries in the region to take advantage of the regional integration process. 

Prof. Dr. Bishwambher Pyakuryal, Central Department of Economics, Tribhuvan University, provided critical comments on the book. He praised the effort of the editorial team for an excellent output, and urged South Asian policy makers to implement the recommendations provided in the book. Similarly, Mr. Dhan B. Oli, Director, SAARC Secretariat, remarked that this book should serve as a clarion call for redoubling the efforts towards achieving enhanced regional integration in South Asia.

Dr. Posh Raj Pandey, Executive Chairman, SAWTEE, who chaired the programme, mentioned that despite the credibility gap, trust gap and capacity gap as well as diverging priorities of the countries in the region, the gradual and steady progress taking in terms of integration should be taken in a positive light. “Our leaders and policy makers should build on the momentum gained, particularly in the past few months to move towards creating a viable regional economic entity in South Asia,” he suggested. 

The book contains contributions from South Asian authors on a range of issues that have far-reaching implications for regional economic cooperation in South Asia. Contributions range from problems and challenges of regional economic integration; impediments to goods and services trade liberalization; regional connectivity and trade facilitation; analysis on the financial flows to South Asia in the form of remittances at a time of global turbulence; finance required for more effective integration of LDC members of SAARC into the regional economic cooperation framework; the role of civil society and the private sector in expediting regional economic integration; to South Asia’s interests in the WTO negotiations on liberalization of environmental goods and services.

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