Tahir Amin & Zaheer Abbasi
Published Date: Dec 4, 2019
Former finance minister Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday said the political system does not allow land reforms and income distribution and this is where skill comes in and education ensures the earnings.
This he stated while addressing the twenty-second Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) under the theme of" Sustainable Development in a Digital Society," organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Tuesday.
Aziz said that evidence-based research has gained global limelight. The testing and experimental method based on research is providing increasingly better and effective response and impact in development sector due to research-based evidence. Multiple burning issues exist and require research-based analysis, for instance polio and dengue recrudescence, micro-credit and nutrition.
Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said that government ministers rely on the data that is provided by the scientists and environment experts. She said the government needs input from environment experts and scientists regarding these issues so that they can make policies.
Riaz Fatyana, the convener of Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs, said budget is one of the limiting factors in effective and efficient management of water. The other factors are lack of baseline data and research in the particular field, he said, adding that only 0.06% of the national budget is deployed in science and technology.
Nadeem Ahmed from WaterAid Pakistan said that water sanitation issue is as important as water supply but the policymakers have not seen the complete picture of supply, consumption and disposal. He said Pakistan’s national water policy addresses only the issue regarding irrigation.
Basharat Saeed from World Bank Pakistan pointed out that water is not a constraint in economic development of Pakistan. The basic digital infrastructure is a must in managing water.
Simi Kamal from Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund said that water economy can pull people out of poverty. She stressed the importance of valuing water at individual level and the change begins with people, and not with the governments.
Shandana Gulzar, Member of National Assembly while speaking at the session on women entrepreneurs in a digital society remarked, “There is a need to create incentives for companies like Amazon, eBay and PayPal to come to Pakistan, which will ease of doing business in Pakistan."
Managing Director, StarTimes Communication Network Technology, China, George Gu said that ICT products and services are contributing significantly in the GDP growth rate around the world and millions are being employed. He said digital technology is changing the social environment upon which human beings depend, therefore, technologies like digital broadcasting is changing and revolutionizing the education and e-learning in remote areas, such as in hundreds of villages of Africa.
Speaking at a concurrent session on “Hazards of Air Pollution, Climate change and Data Challenge," experts said, “We can collect data to measure the air pollution." They said crops burning and brick kilns are the prominent causes of air pollution that is increasing day by day. They said the current smog issue is due to pollution coming from across the border.
Speaking at a concurrent session on ‘Managing Our Water: Collective Action in the Digital Age,’ the experts said that the highly water consumptive lifestyles will soon convert Pakistan into a desert, so a well-designed set of prompt and collaborative actions need to be taken at both ends i.e. the government (supplier) and public (consumer). “Pakistan is not facing water scarcity rather it is an issue of judicious supply and efficient use," they said. Water price tagging and billing is a solution to excessive use at domestic level and in addition the collaborative effort to protect and manage water is a way forward.
Speaking at a session on ‘Youth & Peace Building in the Digital Age,’ Adnan Rafique from USIP Pakistan said that 52% youths use mobile phones, and access to digital age is important for peace building. He said 80% youths voted in last elections in Pakistan which shows their participation in politics. While focusing on violence, he was of the view that violent ideologies and political and religious factors play their role in leading youth towards violence and peace in any society.
Dr Farhan Zahid, a senior police office from Quetta, said his main theme encompasses youth being the victim of Jehadi groups both at indigenous (LeJ and TTP) and international levels (IS and al Qaeda). He was of the view that it’s a myth that merely seminary students are involved in terrorism, as findings show that only 1% seminary students are involved in terrorism, whereas 29% of private and 70% public educational intuitions students are involved in terrorism.
Experts said technology crisis occurs due to wrong decisions and complex decision-making and suggested that license must be asked for the import and export of technology between different countries.
Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat (retd) said that technology is based on science while administration is its function without which it could not come in circle.
Maj Gen Samrez Salik (retd) said that social media has deep impact on lives where the bullets are replaced by the tweets.
Speaking at another panel discussion on “Technology & Labor Market: Preparing Pakistan for the Future," Dr Amitabh Kundu from India said the downside projection is based on critical assumption that there will be overall skill development.
Ingrid Christensen, Country Director of ILO Pakistan, emphasized that the future of work and digitization should be viewed in the newer context of demographic changes, climate changes and the deviation from the traditional employer-employee relationship. It was highlighted by panelists that in the context of Pakistan there is a dire need to bridge the gap between demand and supply of labor; a need to bring industry in the loop where skill set should be industry responsive.