The Shillong Dialogue, North East India and the Neighbourhood, 24th-25th October' 2019

Background:

The North Eastern region of India shares a natural contiguity with its immediate neighbour Bangladesh, and other Eastern South Asian countries, extending up to the South East Asian region. This natural connection demands synergised approach to sustainable development with a view of the larger backdrop of climate change. The Shillong Dialogue is an initiative of the Asian Confluence aimed at

o   Grounding the larger narrative of cooperation amongst India and its Eastern neighbours keeping the North Eastern states of India at the epicentre,

o   Highlighting the leadership role of Northeast India in rooting the “Act East Policy” and “Neighborhood First Policy” of India to tangible projects and ideas.

o   Exploring concrete action items that are in line with priority sectors identified by the neighboring countries as well as the states of the Northeast India.

Shillong Dialogue 2018 was designed around the idea of finding ways and means to connect the North Eastern states of India with the Eastern Sub-Himalayan neighbours of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal, through an interconnectedness of goods, services and people. In the context of this geography and idea, the deliberations focused on three main themes, viz. Exploring Special Trade-Transit-Tourisms Hubs; Creation of Integrated and Climate-smart and gender-inclusive Agri-horti value chains; Tourism for better sub-regional integration, economic and peace dividends. The dialogue came up with several recommendations for policy and practice, as also research ideas to further better connect between the region and its people.

 

Shillong Dialogue 2019 Concept:

 

Shillong Dialogue 2019 will be dwell on one overarching Theme: “ Creating trans- boundary value chains in Agri/Horticulture and Tourism with Northeast India” and will have two sub-themes. Each of the Sub-themes will incorporate the overarching theme to come up with ideas and recommendations, including those on tangible collaborations. The sub-themes with a tentative outline of what they will deliberate on are as follows:

 

1.          Sustainable Tourism: Potential circuits in the region, Policy and Regulatory climate, Regional initiatives around tourism and their progress, Technology solutions, Capacity building needs, Role of Civil Society and Community, Partners.

2.          Climate-Smart Regional Agri-Horti Value Chains: Potential products and their business cases (particularly those with potential of integrating producers and other supply chain players in the region, across borders in the region), Specific Climate concerns and solutions, Policy and Regulatory climate, Technology solutions, Investment Needs, Role of Civil Society and Community, Partners.

Both these sub-themes will deliberate on how to further tangible collaborations in the focused geography of north East India and Bangladesh in tourism and agri-horti sectors.

The overall focus of Shillong Dialogue 2019 will be on creation of sustainable livelihoods within India, Bangladesh, and other Eastern South Asian countries, on learning and creating linkages with South East Asia, in the context of climate change and the emerging geo- politics of regional cooperation. A special session is devoted to promoting women’s entrepreneurship.

The dialogue will be a one and half day affair with the sessions dedicated to Stakeholder Consultations on specific themes and pillars and Policy Discussions, that will be informed by, among other things, deliberations and ideas that emerge from the stakeholder consultations.

Appreciating the ongoing connectivity projects between NER India and neighbors (in particular Bangladesh and Myanmar) and drawing from the Shillong Dialogue 2018, attempt will be made to bring relevant stakeholders to discuss core issues such as trans-boundary  value chain creation, addressing non-Tariff Barriers, evacuation of goods to larger global markets and setting up local institutional structures for better border area development with particular emphasis on the sectors of agri-horticulture and touriism.

Read More: Agenda_Shillong Dialogue_2019