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3 Jul 2015 | News

Two senior ICIMOD staff in Silk Road think tank

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ICIMOD’s Director Programme Operations Dr Eklabya Sharma and Livelihoods Theme Leader Dr Golam Rasul have been named members of the Silk Road Economic Belt think tank. This is a leading think tank with globally recognized scientists in the areas of policy and strategic analysis.

The creation of the think tank follows the June 2014 international conference on ‘Ecology, Environment and Sustainable Development of Silk Road Economic Belt’ organized by the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in Beijing, China.

Among others, the IGSNRR conference had recommended the establishment of ‘The International Scientific Alliance of the Silk Road Economic Belt’, under which providing scientific think tank support for governments of the nations along the Silk Road was a major objective.

The idea of developing the ancient ‘Silk Road’ as new ‘Economic Belt’ was mooted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in a speech in Kazakshstan in 2013. The fabled old Silk Road in the higher latitude runs through China, Mongolia, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe, while the other longitudinal Silk Road connects the Mongolian north to northeast India and also connects north of central Asia to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The sea route connecting Europe, Africa, and Asia fall in the Silk Road Economic Belt. However, the old Silk Road gets most of the emphasis.

According to Dr Eklabya Sharma, the think tank should bring the modern-day paradigm to the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ development concept. “It should also provide ideas and means of connecting northern Silk Road Belt with southern Maritime route in terms of both environmental sustainability and economic prosperity,” he said.

Dr Eklabya Sharma said improving the livelihoods of the local people while taking care of the environmental safeguards in implementing development programmes in the Silk Road Economic Belt is crucial. At the Beijing conference, Dr Eklabya Sharma also emphasized the establishment of ‘Silk Road Economic Belt Information System’.

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