H.E. Sheikh Hasina,
Honourable Prime Minister, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Located in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Dhaka Global Dialogue, co-hosted by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), India and the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), Bangladesh, seeks to catalyse conversations on what is fast emerging as one of the most important and dynamic political and growth geographies of the world.
The Indo-Pacific region is already at the forefront of the global response to two important processes. The first process necessitates a dramatic shift in our collective approach towards human development, environmental protection, and prosperity. The Indo-Pacific may indeed be where the new alignment between nature and humans will be discovered, and pathways for mainstreaming billions into the economic processes will be fashioned.
InterContinental Dhaka, Bangladesh
The full potential of the region will be predicated on its ability to create a plural and inclusive undergirding of institutions, rules, and approaches across themes and domains. Stakeholders must be committed to building a region that is shaped by innovative norms and approaches, particularly those scripted from within the region. Political stability will be implicated by the norms that manage land, water, space, and digital domains. Social transitions will be aided by harmonising national and sub-national approaches to the important public policy questions of these times, including those around rights and responsibilities that are fluid in the digital age. And, our social and environmental future is safeguarded when each stakeholder works towards a framework of cooperative governance. This Dialogue will serve as a venue to debate this ‘normative future’ and tease out viable and attractive propositions for all to consider.
As one of the youngest and fastest growing regions of the world, investing in and benefitting from youth and their potential human capital must be a key priority for governments and communities. Human development policies generally, and public health goals specifically, must serve the provision of universal health coverage, nutrition, sanitation, and clean air. Innovative healthcare financing models supported by digitisation must be explored to support these objectives. Similarly, education and skilling ecosystems that enable upward mobility and value creation must be discovered to respond to the new and dynamic labour markets of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A growing start-up sector and techno-entrepreneurship needs to be supported by appropriate regulations and through linkages with other such communities across the globe. Similarly, value chains can be developed and strengthened at the regional and global level to fully benefit from the unfolding opportunities of the techno-digital revolution. The Dialogue will seek to respond to each of these imperatives and contribute to the current discussions on these important issues.
There is growing consensus on the need to strengthen the political economy of green transitions. This will require the scaling-up of institutional investments to combat climate change — both adaptation and mitigation, increasing resilience, ensuring the sustainable management of resources, and promoting renewable energy solutions through cooperative approaches. The Indo-Pacific maritime collective must define the new formats of engagement with the blue economy with a calibrated focus on trade, shipping, ocean resources, protections of sea lanes of commerce, and most importantly, coastal communities. The urgency to discover a fine balance between livelihoods, growth and sustainability is clear to all. Technology today can aid in this endeavour and allows us to construct a new planetary compact that enriches all and preserves the heritage forever. The Dialogue aims to highlight shared experiences, challenges and opportunities for governing these global commons.
The time is right for a women-led industrial revolution. From women in start-ups to women designing technology solutions, the possibilities and potential for redesigning economic growth, social contracts and political regimes are immense. ‘Digital Bangladesh’ has moved beyond the capital and cities — across the country, millions of young and creative minds are now building new means of livelihood in the digital age. Businesses, investors and political leaders across the globe are beginning to see this clear opportunity, and all need to do more to realise it. Patriarchal tendencies and misogynist innovation must be discarded. A gendered approach to this new ecosystem is essential and social leaders will have a critical role to play. This Dialogue will discuss ways to galvanise financial flows to women-led initiatives, create regulatory signals that allow markets to serve women’s needs, and incubate regimes where women hold the pen.
Economic growth is fast outpacing the soft and physical infrastructure and regimes connecting people, markets and opportunities in the region. Investments, political regimes and social capital must be focussed on creating sustainable linkages across land, seas and water, and the digital domain. Financing such initiatives must be innovative, sustainable and based on transparent and non-discriminatory principles. Various national and sub-national regimes need harmonisation for the easy flow of services, goods and people. The new data economy will also benefit from a ‘whole of region’ approach. Equitable growth must be the ‘mantra’ for connecting this region and this dialogue will engage experts, businesses, policy makers, civil society, and academia to discover options and ideas that serve this purpose.