The South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) in Dhaka organized the
virtual Bay of Bengal Economic Dialogue (BoBED) 2021 from 8 to11 February 2021.
Dr Selim Raihan, Executive Director, SANEM and Professor, Department of
Economics, University of Dhaka was the convener. The Centre for Research on
Bhutanese Society (CRBS), Thimphu was one of the co-organizers along with
ASEAN-India Centre (AIC), RIS, India; South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and
Environment (SAWTEE), Nepal; Indian Studies Center (ISC) of Chulalongkorn
University, Thailand; and Pathfinder Foundation (PF), Sri Lanka.
The Dialogue started with the Welcome and Inaugural Sessions followed by the
Keynote Presentation. Dr. Kinlay Dorjee, Senior Agriculture and Development
Economist and former FAO official spoke in the Inaugural Session on behalf of the
CRBS on the possibility of strengthening cooperation in a potato development
program in the region.
A number of topics were covered during the four-day event comprising, inter alia:
- Digital Connectivity and E-Commerce;
- Trade and Regional Value Chains;
- Trade, and Regional Cooperation;
- Health and Education;
- Employment Challenges;
- Institutional Challenges for Post-COVID Recovery; and
- Strengthening People to People Contacts.
Dr.Karma Lhazeen, Director, Department of Public Health shared Bhutan’s
experience in managing the COVID-19 pandemic effectively. She highlighted that
the success resulted from the leadership provided at the highest level of the
State accompanied by strong and coordinated action taken by the Royal
Government in capacity building and enforcing strict preventive measures in the
country. The Co-Founder of CRBS, Achyut Bhandari shared his experience in
strengthening regional connectivity for forging more substantive cooperation in
the Bay of Bengal region, while Prof. Sanjeev Mehta of the Royal Thimphu
College put forward his ideas for tackling post-COVID challenges in the region.
The closing session saw the release of a summary of the Dialogue along with
closing remarks from the participating research institutions.
The event provided an excellent opportunity for the CRBS to introduce itself to
the leading research institutions of the region and network with them on themes
of mutual interest.