Policy Dialogue on Economic and Transport Development in Border Areas of eastern South Asia
Remote border areas are junctions for connectivity between countries and are very often also poorer places in most countries. In order to alleviate poverty and develop trade and transport connectivity in border areas, many countries opened borders for the purpose of trade and transport, granting those areas the status of border special economic zones. Many such zones have been established in North-East, South-East and Central Asia and have become trade centres, transport hubs and cooperation centres, greatly promoting local economic development and poverty alleviation in border areas.
South and South-West Asia remains one of the least integrated subregions in the world as measured by proportion of intraregional trade, investment, transport connectivity and people-to-people contacts. The proportion of intra-regional trade in South Asia at below 6 per cent is lowest among different subregions.
Against this backdrop, the development of border special economic zones in eastern South Asia would greatly contribute to poverty alleviation, investment and trade promotion, cross-border and transit transport, and development of the local economy. Such zones have the potential to become important platforms and hubs for cooperation between neighbouring countries.
Organized by ESCAP South and South-West Asia Office, ESCAP Transport Division in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Meghalaya State of India, the Policy Dialogue on Economic and Transport Development in Border Areas of eastern South Asia will provide an opportunity to exchange experience in the economic and transport development of border areas. It will include a one-day field visit to a border crossing. It is expected to bring together policy makers from ministries in charge of economic development, transport, trade and commerce, finance (Customs) and border control, and local governments in the border areas of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.