The concept of Global Initiative for Sustainable Development and Planning (GISDP) emerged in 2011. Dr. Sujata Dutta Hazarika, whose Senior Research Fulbright experience in United States to work on Ecovillage community living enhanced her purview of the potentials and possibilities for sustainable development embedded in the traditional structures and institutions of developing regions such as North East India.
Her proposal for GISDP was geared towards three primary goals::
- Firstly, provide a global platform for viewing the paradigm shift towards sustainability through the developmental lens of NorthEast India
- Secondly, facilitate mutual exchange of knowledge, information and resources
- Finally, harness the synergies between the range of experiences and expertise, both local and global to the NorthEast region, in order to identify key areas of intervention for sustainable development of the region
The proposal for GISDP was presented and submitted to the Hon’ble Ex Vice Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Prof. R.S. Pillai, member of the Planning Commission that reports directly to the Prime Minister of India, and was successfully accepted following his emphatic approval of the concept. Choice of IGNOU as a launching pad for GISDP was both pragmatic and strategic: it is the largest mega university spealizing in open and distance learning ODL mode in the democratic world serving the educational aspirations of about 2.1 million students in India and 33 countries abroad through 21 schools of studies with an elaborate network of 60 regional centres and 49 overseas centres. One of its centers, North East Centre for Research and Development (NECRD), located in Guwahati, was chosen to spearhead and support this initiative.
Since then, however, GISDP has independently gained significant traction in the NorthEast region, and received wide support from leading institutions across different sections, such as industry and commerce(Numaligarh Refinery Limited), policy planning ( North East Council), research and education (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati University, Tezpur University, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati), etc. and even captured the attention and interest of globally renowned dignitaries such as Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, former chair of the Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and current Director General of TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) when he agreed to be the keynote speaker of GISDP’s International Symposium in 2012.