The 6th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES), convened by the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS), concluded in Colombo. Highlighting the importance of moving towards a stronger, dynamic and inclusive South Asia, the three-day Summit brought together over 120 dignitaries representing the socio-economic spectrum of South Asia and beyond.

This year’s Summit was centered around four key socio-economic policy areas termed ‘The Big Four’, which explored the significance of harnessing human capital through creating productive employment and addressing migrant dilemmas; managing water resources, ensuring food security and mitigating climate change; addressing intra-country growth disparities to development and enhancing the importance of building a competitive and inclusive private sector in the region.

The Minister of External Affairs, Professor G.L. Peiris delivering the valedictory speech at the closing ceremony of the 6th SAES, remarked that the four key pillars chosen for discussion was “undoubtedly the most appropriate” in terms of highlighting the issues facing Sri Lanka and the region. In his speech, Hon. Minister remarked that the state should “ensure that economic development does not consist of theoretical abstractions which are remote from the lives of ordinary people, but, on the contrary, they have a real impact in terms of improving the day to day lives of people living in all parts of the country”. He also highlighted the importance of developing the physical infrastructure and modernizing education to ensure economic development and social equity in the country. The Minister also commended the valuable contributions made on the development discourse in the region by various socio-economic experts from the Summit. Hon. Minister concluded his speech by assuring that any recommendations made on the basis of the deliberations in the 6th SAES will receive the earnest consideration of the Government of Sri Lanka.

The three-day Summit which stimulated debate and discussion on a range of development issues concluded with the naming of Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries (RIS) in India as the host of the 7th SAES next year.