Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary attended the International Conference on Sustainability and Bio-cultural Heritage of Transhumance at University of Molise, Italy, representing India at the international collaboration hosted by the Republic of Italy. The conference focuses on sustainable efforts for inclusive development of migratory population in more than 15 countries.

The conference and study visit to various provinces of Republic of Italy brings together international experts for a common global framework on sustainable development of ethnic Transhumant communities and ensuring their welfare in line with ethnic socio-cultural and heritage. Experts also discussed the models for integrated approaches towards offering livelihood opportunities and a global policy connect.

Dr Shahid Choudhary made a detailed presentation about efforts of Government of India and Government of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir for sustainable and integrated development of Transhumant tribal population in the region, including the socio-economic survey for development, transit and transport support for migration, relief in natural disasters, focus on education and healthcare, opportunities for livelihood, Skilling and use of technology for welfare.

The programme includes visit to various areas including Isernia, Campobasso, Benevento, Florence, Venice and other regions in Italy for firsthand assessment of research-supported welfare and development initiatives for Transhumant population. Transhumance is historically widespread throughout much of Italy, France, Spain and most of the Balkan countries where nomadic cattle and sheep herders travel long distances in search of greener pastures in summer and warmer climatic conditions in winter. Governments and research institutions have come together for sustainable support to this historic phenomenon.

Wiladimir Mejîa from Columbia University, Nicco Bartoleto from Italy, Letizia Bindi from University of Molise, Mauro Giardiello from Institute of Social Sciences, Mark Steins from Food & Agriculture Organisation and other senior officials and researchers discussed various common frameworks for cooperation with J&K Tribal Affairs Department and nodal Universities.

Margharita DiPaulo from the Centre for International Relations, Italy was nominated as designated authority to work on proposals for PhD programmes and other joint research and policy courses in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir Government. The proposed MoU will offer PhD programs in various aspects of tribal transhumant socio-cultural life in J&K with exposure to similar pattern of vertical Transhumant migration in various other countries in Europe.

J&K has world’s largest Transhumant tribal population which is under policy focus of Central and UT governments and a number of planned initiatives have been started over last two years. The international research and policy collaboration will also offer resource support for various welfare and developmental activities apart from policy collaboration. Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India approved the visit of Dr Shahid Choudhary to Italy last month.(KNS)


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