Ahsan Iqbal presents VNR at UNECOSOC – Latest News – The Nation

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NEW YORK – Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Ahsan Iqbal, on Friday presented Pakistan’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) during the 15th meeting of the Ministerial Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC 2022) to the United Nations.
During the presentation of the VNR, the minister said that Pakistan was a resilient nation. “We are a nation of young people. 64 percent of the population is under 30 years old. The youth of Pakistan need quality education and skills to achieve sustainable development for a better Pakistan.
He said that despite formidable global and national challenges, Pakistan has followed through on its development plans in partnership with the international community and local stakeholders.
“This year’s VNR report contains localization and innovation efforts in partnership with other stakeholders, Covid response and recovery and the way forward in light of lessons learned to better progress during the decade of action.”
Ahsan Iqbal presented the alignment of Vision 2025 with social development goals. He said the SDGs were strategically aligned with the National Vision 2025. “Each pillar is uniquely associated with different Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
On the enabling policy environment, he said the SDGs were adopted as a national development agenda through a unanimous National Assembly resolution in 2016.
“Soon after, we created seven specialized SDG support units at the federal, provincial and special levels to mainstream and localize the SDGs. »
Regarding the transformation from the latest VNR, the Minister said that in the past three years, Pakistan had its first SDG 2021 Status Report.
“Development projects are being integrated with the SDGs, data quality is improving and we are harmonizing data and survey instruments are being standardized,” he said, adding that the income support program de Benazir (BISP) had a last geolocated national socio-economic register. Pupils.
“The Pakistan SDG Index is developed to track progress at goal level and overall; it shows a 10 percentage point improvement between 2015 and 2020.”
He said mobile cellular subscribers had reached 182 million; an increase of 8.6% in nine months of fiscal 2021. Similarly, broadband (BB) subscribers reached 100 million, an increase of 28 percentage points in one year.
He also informed the panel that a center was formed which served as a central agency to manage Covid-19.
“We have followed a three-pronged strategy, i.e. a policy of saving lives, livelihoods and saving the economy. To this end, smart locks were proposed, which was an effective policy. »
Along with a stimulus package, he said, the State Bank of Pakistan has also announced a business package to keep the economy on its toes; however, the impact of Covid-19 was unknown to all.
“Therefore, the first wave cost us a negative GDP growth rate. Our National Statistics Organization estimated that 27.31 million of the working population were affected while 20.6 million could not work during the first wave.
The minister said extreme poverty was 4.4%, while national poverty decreased by 2.4 percentage points in 2016 and 2019.
He said the SDG 2 index value increased from 27.47 to 62.92 during the period 2015-2020.
“This growth in the index has been driven by improvements in all three indicators, most notably by reductions in the prevalence of stunting, malnutrition and anemia among pregnant women.”
Ahsan Iqbal said the proportion of young people and adults with information and communication technology skills increased by 3.17 percentage points in 2018-19 and 2019-20, i.e. say that in one year, the maternal mortality rate fell from 276 to 186 in 12 years (2006-07 and 2018-19).
The 2022 gender policy framework was launched to improve monitoring-based interventions related to gender, health, education and employment, he added.
“Post-pandemic economic growth showed a V-shaped recovery with an increase in GDP (gross domestic product) per capita of 13.4%. This became possible thanks to the State Bank of Pakistan which provided industry support equivalent to 5% of GDP in Covid.
The minister said for higher and stable growth “we focus on providing education and skills to young people, job creation, investment in public infrastructure through PPP (public-private partnership ), special focus on CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and digitalization of the economy Pakistan’s access to electricity, dependence on fuels clean energy and the share of renewable energy in total final energy consumption are increasing. We plan to increase the share of renewable energy by 30% by 2030.”
He said Pakistan had adopted and implemented national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework. Local governments had adopted and implemented local disaster risk reduction strategies with 30% progress.
Pakistan, he said, had launched Clean Green Pakistan Index to rank cities against the performance of five pillars of Clean Green Pakistan, namely drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, waste management solid waste and plantations.
He said the Roshan digital bank account for Pakistanis abroad was launched to increase remittances through legal channels as well as increase foreign investment.
The minister said that under the PPP and Universal Service Fund Smart Village pilot project, villages across the country would be equipped with ICT (information and communication technology) facilities. They would be trained in the use of digital services that would help rural communities gain better access to basic education, health and trade services.
“The TeleSchool Grades 1-12 education program was launched in Covid-19 due to school closures and it has received good attention. A local NGO reported that 32% of the population learned through teleschooling during Covid 19.”
Some 28 software technology parks have been established to provide office space with technology and other IT-related services, he added.
The minister said a special 1099 hotline has been set up for human rights legal advice at the federal and provincial levels as well as a 1121 child protection hotline. for the protection of children.
Similarly, he said, special laws have been enacted for the protection of vulnerable people such as Zainab Alert, Response; recovery law, 2020; Islamabad Persons with Disabilities Rights Act 2020.
He said the price of crude oil jumped above $100 a barrel and stayed there for the past 3-4 months. Similarly, the price of edible oil had also jumped several times. In addition, this year we have a shortage of 500,000 tons of wheat, and the international price of wheat has also increased.
All three major components had a severe impact on the balance of payments, he said, adding, “Due to the free floating of the exchange rate, we are facing double-digit inflation.”
Moreover, the conditions of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) were so harsh that it was difficult to relieve an ordinary person, he pointed out.
During Covid-19, he said, developed countries were there to help developing countries. “But it’s also a great shock and overall no one has come forward to provide relief to developing countries.”
There was a need at the United Nations level to champion the issue of extreme economic shocks due to the doubling and tripling of commodity prices in international markets. UN action was inevitable to control supply chain shocks, an obstacle to achieving the SDGs.
Ahsan Iqbal said for the first time in Pakistan, based on the SDG principle of farthest first, “we have selected 20 lower districts for a major intervention that creates employment opportunities, reduces poverty, provides basis and provides lasting solutions to the community”.

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