Secretary, Tribal Affairs Department, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary participated in the 2-day International Conference on Transhumance and Rural Development organised by Republic of Albania at Shkoder where more than a dozen nations discussed common strategies for migratory population. The unique cultural heritage of J&K tribes and recent initiatives of the Government for their welfare were also highlighted.Minister for Agriculture, Republic of Albania, Frida Krifca inaugurated the international conference held at historic city of Shkoder, in presence of Mayor of Shkoder Voltana Ademi, Rector Dr Susana Golemin and senior officials of various European nations.The two-day conference deliberated upon various contours of Transhumant i.e sessional migration of population and devised various common strategies for protection of cultural heritage of such ethnic groups, international collaboration initiatives and development support, planning models, economic development, education, healthcare and other aspects. The International Conference on Transhumance has been planned as a regular feature for multilateral cooperation on migratory population.Presentations were made by senior functionaries of the governments and academia drawn from Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, India, Croatia, Rome, Macedonia, Sardinia, Kelmend, Italy, France, Greece, Bosnia Herzegovina and other regions about transhumance practices and local support initiatives.
A number of Universities and premier research institutions of European countries participated in the conference to present the research work suggesting need for common international strategies on Transhumance management.India has highest Transhumant and semi-nomadic tribal population in the world which is largely concentrated on Jammu and Kashmir. Practiced by nomadic Gujjars, Bakkerwals, Gaddis, Sippis and few others. The first survey of Transhumant Tribal Population conducted recently formed the basis of several planning and development measures rolled out by the J&K Government.Dr Shahid made a detailed presentation in the conference about traditional and cultural practices of Transhumant tribal groups of Jammu and Kashmir, challenges faced by them in sustaining livelihood and measures being undertaken by the J&K Government for their welfare and development. He made a strong case for declaring J&K’s biannual tribal migration as a ‘Protected Phenomenon’ under the United Nations Economic Social and Cultural Organisations which was strongly supported by the participating counties.The conference discussed a range of common initiatives including economic, livelihood, laws, sustainable development, vulnerability, support systems, welfare policies, culture, developmental safeguards, rural tourism, linguistics, eco-cultural heritage, inclusive planning and empowerment among several criticism sectors. The Universities, Research Institutes and several organisation based in countries having Transhumant and semi-nomadic migration are coming together under the initiative to support the Governments for welfare of these ethnic groups. J&K has the distinction of highest tribal migratory population as per the recent survey conducted by the department of tribal affairs in collaboration with district administrations and Planning, Monitoring & Development Department, which also highlighted status in several welfare and developmental sectors laying a foundation for overall development of tribal communities.