The CESLAM Kathmandu Migration Conference, organised by the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility (CESLAM) at Social Science Baha, was held on 15 and 16 September 2020. Given the health restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the two-day conference was an online event held on Zoom.
(All times are in Nepal time)
Day 1: 15 September 2020 (Tuesday) 6:45 pm–9:45 pm
6:45 pm–6:50 pm
Welcome remarks: Arjun Kharel, Research Coordinator, CESLAM
6:50 pm–8:40 pm
Panel 1: State Policies and Migration
Chair: Suresh Dhakal, Associate Professor, Central Department of Anthropology, Tribhuvan University
Discussants: Prakash Khanal, PhD Student, University of Reading, United Kingdom and Sudeshna Thapa, Research Officer, Social Science Baha
8:45 pm – 9:45 pm
Keynote Address by A. Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics, Yale University
Migration and the Labour Market Impacts of COVID-19 Social distancing policies to contain the global pandemic include restrictions that limit people’s geographic mobility and hence prevent migration as a source of income. In addition, many nations have responded to the public health crisis by revoking work visas for existing labor migrants and sending foreign workers home. In his keynote, Professor Mobarak will present evidence that both the public health risks of COVID-19 and the economic fallout from mitigation policies have been particularly damaging to households that engage in labor migration. Further he will discuss findings from a study done by a joint research team of the Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE) and the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility (CESLAM) in Kathmandu which tracked 2,600 households in rural Nepal over five rounds of surveys during both lean and harvest seasons, before and after the COVID-19 lockdown. Their results suggest continued lockdowns may lead to even greater hunger, malnutrition, and desperation than what has already been observed. Read more from Professor Mobarak on this topic in his recent Foreign Policy article and Yale Insights article. Y-RISE is engaged in supporting developing country governments devise evidence-based COVID response strategies. Professor Mobarak will describe that work.
Day 2: 16 September 2020 (Wednesday) 6:45 pm – 9:00 pm
Chair and closing remarks: Amina Maharjan Livelihood Specialist, ICIMOD
Discussants: Sanjay Sharma, PhD Student, National University of Singapore and Khagendra Acharya, Assistant Professor, Kathmandu University
Panel 2: Migration, Livelihood and Reintegration