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SDPI Press Release

Published Date: Dec 8, 2016

SDC- Press Release – day 3

Closing plenary of 19th Sustainable Development Conference

Speakers say future of region is linked with peace, cooperation & sustainability

ISLAMABAD (Dec 08, 2016): War, in any case, is no option between the two nuclear neighbouring states of India and Pakistan, and the future of region is linked with peace, cooperation and sustainability.
This was the crux of the closing plenary of 19th Sustainable Development Conference organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute here on Thursday.

Speaking as chief guest Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Afzal said the region has becomes explosive due to the issue of Kashmir which needs to be resolved according to the UN resolutions. “Pakistan cannot leave 11 million Kashmiris on the mercy of Indian forces,” he said, adding that Indian designs of hegemony in the region can no longer prevail. He further said a strong and peaceful Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest whereas an economically stable and prosperous Pakistan is in India’s interest. 

He said Pakistan is faced with lot of challenges including the world propaganda of being a terrorist state whereas “we are in fact the victims of terrorism”. He said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a reality and 50 per cent work on Phase I of the project is near to completion.

Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI) leader and MNA Asad Umer said all the mainstream political parties are agreed on good relations with neighbours, which is mandatory to promote peace and sustainability in the region. “Peace constituency in Pakistan is overwhelming,” he said, and added that Modi government cannot sabotage the wishes of peace-loving people of India who want good relations with Pakistan. 

Regarding women and minority issues, he said now it’s time to change our mindset, as we cannot respect our vulnerable communities unless we change our social behaviours.

Former president of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malik Zubair Ahmed said peace lobby in India and Pakistan is going to shrink and Pakistan has to take bold decisions to promote trade and good relations through SAARC.   

SDPI Executive Director Abid Suleri said during the conference more than 200 economic and policy experts and scholars from the world over discussed issues from climate change to minority rights. He said soon the conference recommendations will be shared with the government of Pakistan and related institutions.

SDPI Board of Director chairman Shafqat Kakakhel presented vote of thanks.

Earlier, in his keynote address, Former SDPI Executive Director and Professor at Utha University, USA Dr Tariq Banuri highlighted the present world scenario in the backdrop of energy.  He said now the world has totally changed scenario with lot of respect for peace, democracy and inclusivity.

Earlier in the morning, speaking at a session on ‘Regional cooperation in light of Paris Agreement’,  Nisar Memon, the chairman of Water and Environment Forums (WEF), said human security is not possible if we don’t address the issue of climate change  in our policies, which should be more people centric. He stressed the need for inverse hierarchy and long communication cycle for the implementation of climate change policies. 

Naseer Gilani from Planning Commission also stressed the need for addressing trans-boundary issues like air pollution and reducing the cost of the regional technology transfer.

Mr. Sanjay Vishast from Climate Action Network, India stressed on regional cooperation in South Asia by suggesting investments in renewable energy source like solar panels, which are fast and efficient. He rejected the idea of using coal and identified solar energy as an emerging filed which requires more focus. 

Dr Imran Khalid from SDPI highlighted the track II initiatives conducted between India and Pakistan and suggested for the early warning system for disaster risk reduction, collaborative monitoring and assessment system and use of adaptation technologies to address the challenges of climate change on regional level.  Shakeel Ahmed Ramay from SDPI highlighted the need to bring business hubs in the Track-IIinitiatives between India and Pakistan so that the issues related to energy and water scarcity can be addressed with shared interests. 

Climate resilience should be holistic, integrated and considered as the access to basic human rights, said Ms Nazma Shaheen from Action Aid Pakistan. She said that regional cooperation is a pragmatic strategy between India and Pakistan requiring shared steps to address climate change issues. She suggested to make policies people centric and recommended the need for business-to-business participation and sharing of data between countries.

Mr. Mehmood Nasir, IG Forestry, emphasized on the issue of animal security and regarded it equivalent to human security issues.  Former ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel analyzed the role of declarations and emphasized the need of their implementation. 

In a session on Pakistan Food security and nutrition strategic Review: preliminary findings,

SDPI Executive Director Dr. Abid Qaiyum congratulated the UN and other agencies for their initiatives to remove hunger and efforts in Policy Arena. Correct diagnostic is best cure. He also pointed out the importance of census for the success of the WFP. 

 Jean-Luc Siblot, the country director of World Food Program said we should analyze the weaknesses, opportunities and threats of malnutrition in Pakistan. The WFP Pakistan is linked with future development and now extending circle up to provincial level. 

SDPI’s Shakeel Ramay said only 10 per cent of total expenses in real terms are utilized on R & D in Pakistan. We need to improve innovative condition. Security Issue of patent for private sector instead public sector matters too. 
Dr Stephen Davies from IFPRI gave a detailed presentation and appreciated the role of Aga Khan University to support the initiative of World Food Program. He said the Punjab and KP are at high for nutrition where calories at 100per cent are available. 

In a session on ‘Emerging methods in policy engagement and Public-Private Dialogue’, Deputy Executive Director of SDPI Dr Vaqar Ahmed brought in the issues faced by political parties as well as business community and said there are different concerns both by business council and political parties. 
Country Director CIPE Hammad Siddiquie stressed the need for public private dialogue and need for interaction between both public and private partners. 
Dr Khakkan Najeeb, Director General Economic Reforms Unit, said Pakistan has first time completed the IMF program. “Pakistan is now among top 10 emerging economies and budget today is a long process with extensive deliberation both from public and private side. He further pointed out that real estate sector has slowed down due to taxation mechanism which is in place now. 

Dr. Najeeb further pointed out that the economic activities, which brings in changes. He recommended that there is a need for proper government feedback mechanism. 

Former KCCI President Majyd Aziz highlighted the importance of Public private dialogue and pointed out the gaps which are present in between the government connections and private sector. He stressed the need that government should make a paradigm shift with inclusive approach of private sector in hand to achieve objectives. Further he recommended that the government should bring in the broad posture with real time implementation. On the role of private sector, 

Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan said that priorities were set by political parties for 2013 which were revolving at that time around extremism. He recommended that to be successful, politicians need to go back to public and highlight the problems for better and positive chance. 
Engr. Jabbar from SDPI , Sarwat Aftab from World Bank, Ali Khizar from Business Recorder also spoke.
 In a session on capacity building in conflicts, Mian Adnan Aurangzeb  talked about insurgency in Swat a decade ago. He said we are not out of the woods rather we are on the edge of the forest. 

Richard Mallet from SLRC expressed his views about capacity building saying we need smarter approach towards capacity building. 

Mirza Jilani said people who receive training do not remain in the same field. Furthermore, political will must be there among masses to ignite the change, he added.

He said we are currently following western style democracy which is based on popular vote while Jirga system is based on social, moral and ethnic values.