ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Friday said that Asia has emerged as the new engine for growth of the world economy.
Addressing the concluding meeting of fourth Asia-Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development in Bangkok, the minister said that elimination of inequality, promotion of peace and harmony are major challenges for Asia Pacific region.
“Asia Pacific is home to 4.3 billion people which is two third of world’s population. Asia has emerged as new engine of growth for world economy with its share in world economy expected to be greater than 52 percent of world GDP by 2050,” he said.
He further stated that rising inequality is a major challenge for sustainable development, and called for developing inclusive development strategies for uplifting lives of billions of people in Asia Pacific region.
The minister stressed that regional cooperation and connectivity holds promise for future as regional trade is very low, while technology and innovation is reshaping social and economic landscapes with unprecedented speed.
“Disruption and innovation are hallmarks of new era, which will impact lives of people on continuous basis. This requires collective and collaborative action at all levels,” he stated.
He also said that the Asia Pacific region is most affected by climate change, and it is imperative that member countries must work together to mitigate its impact.
Ahsan Iqbal also chaired a meeting with civil society members from over sixty countries at the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD), who shared ideas for expanding cooperation for mutual prosperity in the region.
He briefed about the inequalities and under-development in South Asia which is lagging behind due to conflicts and lack of connectivity, while Asia Pacific is facing challenges of climate change and limited financial and trade services.
He emphasised on the need for comprehensive efforts to improve the living standard of the people of the region by cooperation on issues of sustainable development.
The minister called on the national ownership of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formed by the United Nations for implementation by 2030. He said development cannot be carried out solely governments, and civil society organisations are important partners in development process.
Earlier, Ahsan Iqbal was elected as chairperson of the APSFD and will serve until the next session in 2018.