RCSS, in its capacity as South Asia’s Regional Initiator for GPPAC (Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict), hosted the Regional Steering Group (RSG) Meeting from February 15th – 16th in Colombo. Prof. Baryalai Hakimi from Afghanistan; Mr. Feroz Ahmmead from Bangladesh; Dr. Damodaran Nampoothiri and Seema Kakran from India; Dr. Nishchal Pandey and Ms. Saloni Singh from Nepal; Prof. Moonis Ahmar and Ms. Nighat Said Khan from Pakistan; and Ms. Jezima Ismail, Ms. Visaka Dharmadasa, Dr. Jehan Perera and Mr. Yudara Weerakoon from Sri Lanka, participated in the RSG meeting. The meeting was organised with the support of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the GPPAC Global Secretariat.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. David Ashley, the Regional Advisor for South Asia at the British High Commission in Colombo, touched on the UK’s commitment and effort towards the prevention of armed conflict, difficulties in assessing the impact of conflict prevention and the UK’s priorities in the region. He reiterated the importance of improving regional connectivity in South Asia, the role of civil society in conflict prevention and international support in the region. Mr. Ashley concluded his remarks by wishing GPPAC South Asia success.
Mr. Gus Miclat, member of the GPPAC Board as Executive Director of International Initiatives for Dialogue in the Philippines, also participated in the meeting as an observer. The IID holds the GPPAC Regional Secretariat for Southeast Asia. Mr. Miclat’s participation was part of GPPAC’s initiative to strengthen links between the 15 regional networks of GPPAC. Following the RSG, Mr. Miclat, Mr. Feroz Ahmmead from the South Asia network, and Ms. Marte Hellema, the Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific at the GPPAC Foundation, also participated in the General Forum of the Solidarity for Asian Peoples’ Advocacies (SAPA) that was held from 17-21 February in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The working sessions of the RSG meeting were facilitated by Ms. Marte Hellema, Over the course of the meeting, the RSG finalized its regional strategic plan for the next three years and worked on the regional annul plan for 2011-2012.