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Published Date: Dec 4, 2018

Evening Session of 11th South Asia Economic Summit

Time to achieve goal of peace, prosperity: Mushahid
Political will key to ensuring regional cooperation: Fatyana
Romina calls for sensitizing policy makers on water quality deterioration

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said both Pakistan and India have wasted 60 years in different wars and now it’s time to forget all the diiferences and move forward to achieve the goal of peace and prosperity. He was speaking at a session titled: Regional and Trans-Regional Integration, which was organized on the occasion of 11th South Asia Economic Summit held under the auspices of Sustainable Development Policy Institute, in Islamabad, on Tuesday. 
Focussing more on the peace process between the two countries, Mushahid said opening of Kartarpur border is a good step to start journey towards peace.

Mr Zhao Lijian, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of China, said China and Pakistan enjoy good relations, so they have cooperation in different sectors like education, tourism, trade, and strategic relations. Furthermore, he discussed about the benefits of One Belt One Road(OBOR) initiative and said it’s not the type of Singapore or Korea model but it’s a model of industrialization.

Dr Caroline Freund, Director, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment, World Bank, USA, highlighting the benefits and importance of Belt and Road Initiative, said it’s a great initiative to connect the region. Discussing some of the projects related to this initiative like construction of road and transport, she said it will create many employment opportunities in future. She also discussed the challenges faced by the country which created uncertainty in investments. She said there are many policy gaps/barriers, which are significant in BRI, like tariffs in Pakistan are very high which are not business friendly. 

Dr Shazia Ghani, Team Lead, Prime Minister’s Performance Delivery Unit, said when China entered in WTO after 2001, the different corridors had been started in the region like the north south corridor, one belt one road initiative and many more through different trade groups. She said CPEC is a flagship project among all the regional projects and has great impact on institutional development like Asian Development Bank, China Silk Road Fund, etc. 

Mr Hassan Daud, Project Director, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Planning Commission of Pakistan, said the world is changing day by day so in that context CPEC is a long-term project which will play a vital role in the region. He maintained that it is a corridor of regional and transregional cooperation among the states and a good hope for the better future of coming generation of Pakistan. He said with its geo strategic location, it has strategic importance for both the countries. He further said it will create more trade and investment opportunities for domestic investors through Special Economic Zones (SEZs) while more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will come in the country after the completion of this project.

He said Gwadar will be the transhipment hub in near future, so Pakistan is an emerging economy and we welcome foreign investors in Pakistan.

Mr Nazir Kabiri, Senior Advisor to Finance, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, stressed the need for close ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan through different regional organizations like SAARC. He said Afghanistan has the potential for trade and connectivity because Afghanistan has clean environment for trade. There are many opportunities to launch clean energy projects in both the countries. He said CPEC is a good initiative so there is a need to initiate bilateral and trilateral agreements between Afghan and Pakistan like CPEC. He said there is a need to start peace projects between the two countries. 

Speaking at a concurrent session on Regional Cooperation for Achieving SDGs in South Asia, Riaz Fatyana, Convener of the Parliamentary Task Force on Sustainable Development Goals in the National Assembly, said political will is key to ensure regional cooperation among South Asian countries for the successful achievement of SDGs. He stressed the need to set up an SDGs forum in South Asia at parliamentary level so that people from the developing countries could get benefit out of it 

Member of National Assembly Ms. Kanwal Shauzab said that the government has incorporated SDGs targets in national plan and taking wide steps towards their successful implementation. She said in northern areas tourism should be promoted to eradicate poverty in deprived areas. 

Dr Nagesh Kumar, Head of UNESCAP in India, highlighted the importance of SDGs in  South Asia, said South Asian governments should focus more on key priorities, including poverty, hunger and environment as all are interlinked. 
Dr Dushni Weekaron, Executive Director, Institute of Policy Studies, Sri Lanka,  said the national development plan and annual budget spending needs to be aligned with SDGs. 

Dr. Posh Raj Pandy, Chairman of South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environmnet (SAWTEE), Nepal said the challenges towards achieving SDGs include localization of issues, implementation and unavailability of data. 
Speaking on another plenary titled: Pakistan and India: Tackling Air Pollution Together, PML-N MNA Romina Khurshid Alam said parliamentarians, policy makers, and practitioners must be sensitized about the deterioration of air quality in the region. She emphasized on having strict and even regulations developed through public and private consensus so that public interests cannot be undermined.  She suggested an active engagement of India and Pakist an to develop cross-boarder measures for tackling air quality issues. 

Abid Omar, Founder of Pakistan Air Quality Initiative, suggested taking holistic approach while tackling cross-boundary air pollution issues such as joint monitoring programmes and revision of emission standards. 
SDPI Researcher Maryam Shabbir suggested using stubble as fodder, bedding for animals, mushroom cultivation, paper production, biogas production instead of burning crop residues. She said SDPI has been playing a very effective role in sensitizing policy makers on air quality degradation and climate change issues.

Speaking at a penal titled: Building Renewable Energy Supply Chains in South Asia, PPP MNA Syed Naveed Qamar highlighted a few problems regarding energy generation and presented their solution as how we can adopt a system having least dependencies. He emphasized on the importance of energy generation and recommended the private sector to step in to work on manageable solar systems.

Mr. Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director of CUTS International, India, said energy demand is going up everyday, and only the renewable energy is not enough to cope with the energy needs. “We need to develop ways to produce clean electricity from coal,” he said, adding that South Asia has diversity in all types of renewable energy generation and it can contribute largely to the energy requirements of the region. Technology transfer and knowledge sharing is the basic requirement for all this, he said.

Engr. Amer Zafar Durrani, CEO Reenergia-Enhar, SAARC Energy Centre, Islamabad, talked about the definition of poverty which what he said has changed significantly over time. He emphasized on the generation and distribution of electricity and termed it as a future of energy generation. 

SDPI’s Ms Farzana Yasmin put some light in the long process of policy making in Pakistan and said Pakistan has given its first renewable energy policy in 2006 and despite being not successful it could not be changed till today.

Speaking at another concurrent session titled: Competition IP Regime and E-Commerce in South Asia, Dr Tariq Hassan, Chairman of Audit Oversight Board, Islamabad, said  in today’s world, Intellectual Property Rights play a key role to foster innovation and drive a country towards sustainable development and economic growth. He maintained that it is important for the development countries to have direct constitutional provisions like Pakistan on the lines of USA to protect innovations and to incentivize competition. 

Parliamentary Secretary Ms Shandana Gulzar, clarified the role of government with regard to IP regime. She stressed the need to protect competition to give market signals to domestic and international stakeholders. 

Mr Pradeep S. Mehta from CUTS International, India emphasized on the importance of using parallel imports as a competition policy tool and importance of GI system to improve consumer protection system. 

Engr. M.A. Jabbar, Member of SDPI Board of Governors, stressed the need to adopt a  mechanism to induce R&D. Speakers agreed to develop a policy framework for E-Commerce in Pakistan at the end of the session.

Speaking at a session titled: Intra-regrational Trade in South Asia: Challenges and Opportunities, Mr. Sanjay Kathuria, Lead Economist World Bak, USA, emphasized on reducing import tariff so that intra-regional cooperation can be strengthened. He also emphasized on deploying track II diplomacy to promote trade and trust between India and Pakistan. 

Indian High Commissioner H.E. Ajay Bisaria said that “India and Bhutan have established peaceful barter trade relations which can be promoted while including Pakistan as well. 

Aliya H. Khan emphasized on building trust by exchange of intra-regional trade benefits and ideas. 
Dr. Nisha Taneja suggested to formulate cross boarder policies for health related issues. Dr. Aneel Salman said’’Environment us a loud Sister of Trade.Furthermore,Speakers abd Audience Agreed With all Recommendations.
Speaking at a concurrent session titled: Prospects of Regional Cooperation for Quality Education in South Asia, Dr Ziaul Qayuum, Vice-Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University, said best investment lies in the domain of education and by making our environment sustainable, we can bring peace and development. Furthermore, he stressed that our curriculum should be updated to meet the requirements of the current era. He added that when we compare ourselves with the SDGs agenda set years ago, we can say we didn’t succeeded.

Taking a look at the paradigm of quality education in South Asia, Dr. Raj Kumar, Governance Advisor to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Kathmandu spoke about how this education system is producing individuals that are best suited to play their role in the West. He said society accepts those individuals who learn western ways, and have forgotten about the cultural values linked with their society. 

We should impose an emergency in education otherwise it will take us another 76 years ago, said Dr. Safdar Raza from Plan International. 

Speaking at a concurrent session on Renewable Energy Landscape of South Asia, Dr Shamsul Mulk, former Wapda Chairman, said hydro power should be the center for development keeping in view the landscape of Pakistan. In connection with the present scenario, he stressed the need to build more dams. He said that 46,000 dams were built in the last centuary, majority were constructed in Pakistan and China. “We need dams to avoid floods, protect the lives of our people and economic infrastructure. There is a big way forward for Pakistan in Hydro energy if we construct more dams.” 

Ms Kanchi Kohli from New Dehli, India said that India is growing in renewable enrgy sector at a faster pace and at the same time trying to undergo energy transition and will achieve its goals before 2030. 

Dr. Sally Benson from US said there is a need for the long-term plans for renewable development in the US as well as in South asia.