Published Date: Dec 5, 2017
SDPI Press Release (December 5,2017)
– 20th Sustainable Development Conference (Morning Sessions)
ISLAMABAD: (Dec 05, 2017): Federal Minister for
Interior and Narcotics Control Prof. Ahsan Iqbal has said that rule of law and
peace is the need of hour and the bigger development projects like China-Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC) will guarantee peace and sustainable development to
the whole South Asian region.
He was speaking at the opening plenary of the three-day
20th Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) organized by
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad on Tuesday.
The minister said CPEC is a tool for enhancing
regional connectivity and not a conspiracy, and it is in the interest of
greater economy of the region. He said our government has contributed 7000
additional MW of electricity and the addition of further 3000 MW of electricity
to the national grid in the next 6 months will boost the economic activity in
the country. “Our government has been able to produce 10,000MW of electricity,
compared to 16,000 added during the past 66 years. “We need to become an
economic nation instead of a political one,” he said.
Ahsan Iqbal claimed our current growth rate is
5.3% and we would be able to touch 6% in the upcoming years. In order to pursue
growth trajectory, he added, we need to make investments and fix our energy
crisis. “International community feels confident about our economic growth
despite certain pressures, he maintained.
He said that it is imperative to understand
that industries are becoming global and the concept of one country industry is
decreasing with the inception of iPhone and Samsung type conglomerates.
Investments are becoming global and we need to understand that in this golden age,
information cannot be restricted.
Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said today’s South
Asia is a democratic region where stagnant economic conditions of the
pre-independence era have now transformed into an economic dynamism.
“We are free to
choose the people we want to be ruled by. We are free to live under a political
system of our own choice,” he said, adding that “We have reduced poverty on a
massive scale, and our products and services are competing in the world.”
said, our economic scenario is still not able to address structural
inequalities, and our economic growth has made the difference between the rich
and the poor as obvious as the one between glittering high-rises of Karachi,
Mumbai, or Dhaka and the slums just underneath them.
In his keynote address, former State Bank Governor Dr Ishrat Hussian said that in the first
40 years, the economic growth of Pakistan stood at 6 to 6.5% increase while India’s
economy was at 3%. However, from 2000-2015, there is a decline in Pakistan’s
growth at 4 to 4.5%.
Bangladesh has even surpassed Pakistan, as currently
it stands at 6 to 6.5%. Bangladesh’s current exports for 2016 were $35 billion whereas
Pakistan’s exports were $21 billion in 2016. To improve the current condition,
Dr Ishrat reiterated that policies need to be implemented, as efficient, strong,
capable institutes make an economy functional. If the efficiency decreases, the
cost and the competitive edge will also decrease, he said. He proposed that
good governance and inclusive institutions can help promote economic
integration in Pakistan.
SDPI Board of Governors, Shafqat Kakakhel welcome the conference
participants and shared with them the Institute’s 25 years of history.
Later, a documentary was screened to mark the 25th
anniversary of the Institute. SDPI’s publications, including anthology titled
Sustainable Development: Envisaging the Future Together; Annual Report 2017; Journal
of Development Policy, Research and Practice; Policy Briefs on Sustainable
Development, besides a book titled Pakistan’s Agenda for Economic Reforms by
SDPI’s Deputy Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed was also launched on the occasion.
inaugural plenary concurrent sessions
Speaking at a session titled Challenges and Potential of SMEs Sector
Financing in Pakistan and a Way Forward through CPEC, Advisor to Prime
Minister on Finance Dr Miftah Ismail said SMEs should be a local economic
venture, with focus on industrial zones as facilitators with a national
development innovations as key to economic development. Industrial zones,
therefore, are the backbone of economic development under CPEC.
Mir Salman Ali said special Economic Zones are
the new models of economic growth planned under the CPEC with 46 zones and 9
priority Special Economic Zones, which will receive special economic
incentives, regulations and focus.
Dr Ishrat Hussein said equity expansion and
quality human resources are both crucial and inescapable conditions for
success. Additionally, regulations must continue to be separated and
specialized for SMEs, as this is part of a programme for broader financial and
regulatory reforms, he added.
Stressing the need for a pragmatic approach,
Dr Daniel Poon from UNCTAD, Geneva highlighted the complex interwoven structure
of development finance, infrastructure projects, multilateral development banks,
etc. for new development paradigm.
At a concurrent session on ‘Improving Connectivity and
Regional Integration in Central and South Asia, Sartaj Aziz, Deputy
Chairman, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms, said any future progress on
regional integration will sustain if peace and stability in Afghanistan comes
about. This is not possible without Pakistan’s support to the international
community and we will do all that we can to help Afghan reconciliation process.
He said Pakistan is an important force behind keeping trans-boundary energy and
resource sharing agreements on track. CPEC has paved the way for foreign
investment in the country and has enabled Pakistan to connect to all countries
using this concept of One Belt, Road Initiative, he added.
Mr Safdar Pervez from Asian Development Bank, Manila
said Pakistan stands at the cross roads and can extend regional cooperation
among South Asian countries. CAREC is a programme that is trying to promote
regional cooperation in all forms, connecting people across the region
eventually to increase trade and investment opportunities.
Xiahong Nang from Asian
Development Bank said efficient infrastructure is an important element for
regional cooperation. Trade patterns are changing very much between emerging
and developing countries and ultimately Pakistan has great potential to trade
with CAREC countries. There is a dire need to diversify the basket of
exportable items. Tax regimes need to be re-formulated to improve trade and
promote SMEs by providing them with access to credit. He added.
Imran Shaukat from Jobs
Group said CAREC and CPEC are international visions and among all countries,
China is the only country promoting globalization and working on regional
cooperation. He stressed the need to help agro-based countries like Pakistan to
bring forward the potential for export promotion.
Speaking at a concurrent plenary session on ‘Harnessing
Private Sector’s Role for Sustainable Development,’ Chairman of Nestle,
Pakistan, Syed Yawar Ali said Public-Private Partnerships and collaborations
between business and social community is crucial for meeting Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs).
Shakeel Ramay from SDPI said engagement of private
sector in sustainable development demands formulation of new instruments and
policies along with a platform where different networks can gather to
consolidate different policies.
Michael Williamson from UNESCAP lauding the
incorporation of SDGs in businesses said that UNESCAP’s special focus is on SDG
8, 9, and 13 to strengthen the role of private sector.
Shakeel Ahmad from UNDP gave the idea of Blended
Finance to attract investment from private sector and discussed the steps for
financing the SDGs in Pakistan.
Zubair Tufail from FPCCI said that large-scale
unemployment is the real problem, so private sector must focus on creating
Speaking at a session on ‘Women
Access to Justice: Ending Violence against Women’ Ms
Bandana Rana, Member of UN CEDAW Committee, said Pakistan and India has the
reservation against Article 16 that deals with the issues pertaining to
marriage, divorce ad married life. States have to translate
suggestion/recommendation by the CEDAW committee and disseminate it to the
Mr Pranav Adhikari from
Nepal linked gender equality and
empowerment with the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to him SDG’s cannot be achieved unless women goal 5 will be achieved.
He was of the view that both men and women are subject to Intimate Partner
Nargis Asad from Aga
Khan University Karachi was of the view that psychological violence is part of
every type of violence. “Different societal structures plays a vital role in
prevalence of IPV. “Lack of education, intelligence, unemployment, poverty and
use of drugs is the main causes of IPV. Both love and arranged marriage also
contribute to the prevalence of IPV”.
Ms Khawar Mumtaz
concluded that compliance of the existing laws needs to be taken into
consideration. She said role of civil
society is critical in this regard as they are mandated to monitor the progress
at different levels.
Speaking at a
conconcurrent session on ‘Political economy of South Asia: Stories
from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh’, Afrasiab Khattak said history
is just like a mirror, wherein we have to look in the past but carry on our
journey towards the future.
Mr Khattak said
feudalism, military quos, Arabization
of Pakistan and building Pakistan as a national security state has derailed the
system of nation-building. He said that the literature and history has been
manipulated over times by different rulers according to their will.
I.A Rehman highlighted
the economic stability situation of south Asian countries and said that
Bangladeshi mindset is of progressive nature. The session stressed the
importance of history which is necessary to be studied in all its perspectives.
The discussion moved
around a book titled: ‘Political history of Pakistan’ written by Ahmed Salim. The
book covered 30 years of Pakistan history in four volumes.
Speaking at a session
Climate Finance Mechanisms for Financial Institutions, Dr Saleem Zia
from Pakistan Mortgage Re-Finance said commercial banks need capacity building
and awareness on green financing. Commercial banks should have 3% of their own
green portfolio, he added, adding that the banks need incentives for the
implementation of green finance guidelines and State Bank will provide 60%
funds in case there is some loss on any project done using these guidelines.
Ms Aneta Nikolova from
UNESCAP said there is a knowledge platform related to green financing namely
SDG help desk, and UNESCAP is expecting Sustainable Development Policy
Institute to promote it so that people might get awareness.
Bjoern Darnsfeld from
The Green Werk, Germany urged that an integrated strategy on policy level and
banking sector is required to do pro-environment projects.