A Pakistani Panel comprising of Senator Fawzia Arshad and Deputy Secretary Senate of Pakistan Mudassir Gondal on Thursday while addressing a webinar titled; “Putting the well-being of people and the planet at Centre of COVID-19 Recovery strategies” have underlined that Pakistan is committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has designed its National Development Agenda according to SDGs.
Senator Fawzia Arshad said that for almost 25 years, extreme poverty which was steadily declining rose in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years as the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. Referring to a new Research she noted that climate change will drive 68 to 132 Million into poverty by 2030.
Senator Fawzia Arshad stressed that to end income inequality and promote inclusive development, Parliament has to address the accumulation of wealth in a few hands and inequalities faced by the people at the bottom in the form of inadequate access to education, health, housing, employment, and personal security.
The Pakistani Panel reiterated that Climate Change is one of the greatest threats to global prosperity and development, and to combat the issue, the International agreements must be transposed into national legislation supported by appropriate budget allocation and robust oversight of government performance. According to German Watch, Pakistan has been ranked globally in the top ten countries most affected by climate change in the past 20 years owing to its geographical location, she added.
While highlighting Pakistan’s initiative for clean and green energy, Senator Fawzia Arshad apprised that the Parliament of Pakistan holds the honour of becoming the first Parliament to ‘Go Green’ by converting its energy needs to solar power, adding that the Parliament of Pakistan also passed the “Pakistan Climate Change Act 2017” which establishes a policy-making Climate Change Council, along with a Climate Change Authority to prepare and supervise the implementation of projects to help Pakistan adapt to climate impacts and hold the line on climate-changing emissions.
Senator Fawzia Arshad also acquainted the participants of Prime Minister Imran Khan “Ten Billion Trees Tsunami Project (TBTTP) aiming at revival of forestry and wildlife resources.She underscored that the Post-COVID Ehsaas Strategy of Ehsaas program considers social protection as the cornerstone of relief and recovery efforts which also aim to address rising inequality in the wake of the pandemic. As a result of these efforts, the education conditional cash transfer program has been expanded nationwide, the new health and nutrition program (Ehsaas Nashronuma) has been rolled out promptly and the expansion of the shock-oriented safety net (Ehsaas Tahafuz) is planned to be extended to other parts of the country in next phase.
The Pakistani Panel remarked that during the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic, after analyzing the initial status and possible repercussions at the NCOC, the Government of Pakistan came up with a Rs 1.24 trillion stimulus package. Besides this stimulus package, several other policy measures were taken to reduce the incidence and deaths due to COVID-19 and the salvaging economy.
They highlighted that for creating a better understanding of how Parliaments work, several publications were developed and placed at national and local libraries, and on the Senate’s website, free of cost. These include “The Role and Working of Parliament”, Restoration of Majesty and Transparency in the Parliament, Public Petition Manual, Public Hearing Manual, the Transparency in Parliament Report, to name a few. In addition, all reports and minutes of the meetings of the Senate are also promptly uploaded to the website, so that people of Pakistan can remain informed about the work being undertaken by the Senate. In addition to this, a consolidated annual report is also developed and uploaded annually, summarizing the important decisions taken by the House.
The Senate of Pakistan has also, over the past few years, become increasingly active on social media platforms. The Senate of Pakistan now maintains Twitter and Facebook account with regular updates every single day regarding the work being done in Parliament. In addition to this, national media outlets have also been taken on board to broadcast sessions of the Senate live.