Federal Minister for Climate Change, Zahid Hamid has said the government’s Vision 2025 has seven pillars and 25 goals and these goals are fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which means Pakistan is now in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
He said this while addressing the inaugural session of the 19th Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Tuesday. Zahid Hamid said implementation of the development agenda is possible with global and regional cooperation, and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an example of this cooperation. He suggested that South-South cooperation should be examined further to have its better outcomes. “Systemic monitoring machinery as well as capacity building is also required to implement SDGs,” he maintained.
The South Asian states are faced with similar challenges of hunger, poverty and climate change and a joint forum is needed to overcome these challenges, the minister said, adding that the PM’s Green Pakistan Programme will help control climate change impacts in different sectors, especially agriculture, in the country. Zahid Hamid said two high-level bodies including Pakistan Climate Change Council and Pakistan Climate Change Authority have been established where advisory role of think tanks like SDPI would be appreciative.
With its overarching theme titled ‘Sustainable Development: Envisaging the Future Together,’ the conference serves as a forum for exchanging dialogues on sustainable development issues. Development practitioners, social scientists, academia, civil society, and policymakers from across the world particularly South Asia are participating in the conference.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said, “This conference provides a platform to evaluate and learn what we have done wrong to avoid these mistakes in future.” Furthermore, he added, “We have gathered here to reiterate and reaffirm our commitment to a shared and sustainable future.” He stressed on the importance of cooperation for the development and said that today challenges are global and can’t be solve individually that’s why strong collaboration and coordination of all stakeholder at national, regional, and international level is need of the hour.
Former Ambassador and Chairperson of SDPI BoG Shafqat Kakakhel said that the topics of the conference include issues like socio-economic development, issues related to water and energy sector that cause vulnerability in arid and semi-arid regions and rights of minorities with more focus on the promotion of stakeholders’ collaboration and integrated investment. He said a strong collaboration at national, regional and world level is essential to achieve SDGs effectively.
Abdul Qadir, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Programme Coordinator, said changes in economy have its impact on politics, ethics and overall trends. He said material prosperity is a central part of diplomacy and there should be harmony between market economy and democracy. He elaborated, “When we talk about economic justice, we actually talk about something related to moral economy. If economic system fails, ultimately democracy derails.”
Ali Salman, the Director of Prime Institute, said, “When we talk about a free society, it might not be the equal society. We should focus on the level of growth rate which is enough to meet public debts.” He added that 90% of annual debt payment includes domestic debt payments. He concluded that the situation will not be good until it becomes sustainable.
Sakib Sherani, the ex-principal economic advisor, said, “We didn’t achieve the level of growth for which we went for IMF programme. There is no growth in the private sector if there is no adequate investment for it.” He said the reserves built up because of reduction in oil prices. “Exports are weak, balance of payments are not correct, generation policy is not appropriate, and we have been standing on the same position for the last 20 years.” He stressed the need to encourage investment in projects rather than programmes in order to achieve the tangible project outputs instead of intangible programme outcomes.
Roshan Broucha, the Member of SDPI Board of governors, said, “We should focus on solutions.” She also stressed the need for public-private dialogue. Capacity building and awareness about facilities is important. “Our embassies should play critical role for attracting FDI,” she added.
Dr Pervez Tahir, the chairman of Bank of Punjab, said social sector development is necessary. Loan for projects will be beneficial instead of loans for programmes. Social scientists should be engaged in planning because they think for social aspects better than economists.
At another session on ‘SDGs: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Sector-The Importance of Data’, UN Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne said that one of repercussions of lacking the monitoring data leads to the continuation of bad programmes. He said that the biggest issue with respect to data is quality of data along with its open access. – Business Recorder