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Dated : 31 March 2017
Removing inequalities and promoting peace & harmony are the key challenges in Asia-Pacific: Ahsan Iqbal.
?Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, In his concluding remarks said, "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% of world GDP by 2050. Rising inequality is a major challenge for sustainable development. Inclusive development strategies must be developed and implemented for uplifting lives of billions of people in Asia Pacific region. Regional cooperation and connectivity holds promise for future as international regional trade is very low. Technology and innovation are 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. Asia Pacific is most affected by Climate Change. Asia-Pacific countries must work together to mitigate its impact." He also chaired an interactive meeting with Civil Society members at the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) in Bangkok on 31st March 2017. The Civil Society representatives from more than sixty countries of the Asia Pacific region shared ideas for expanding regional for mutual prosperity in the region.
Prof Ahsan Iqbal briefed the status of inequalities and under development in various sub regions of Asia particularly the South Asia which is lagging behind in development due to conflicts and connectivity. He said that the countries of Asia Pacific were facing challenges of climate change, exclusion and limited financial and trade services. He said that more cohesive and comprehensive efforts were required by the countries of the region to fill the gaps and cooperate with each other on all issues of sustainable development and to create national ownership of SDGs. He said development can't be carried out by governments alone. Civil society Organizations are important partners in development process.
Prof. Ahsan Iqbal also chaired a meeting of Asia Pacific Disability Constituency where participate from disabilities groups from Pakistan also contributed. Prof Iqbal emphasized on the role of people with disabilities in achieving the SDGs as they are almost one billion and most vulnerable for poverty and play an important role in national growth. He said that physical disability shouldn't be a constraining factor. Real disability is in mind with negative thinking and low self esteem. Many people with physical disabilities have achieved great laurels.
Prof Iqbal, chaired the last session of APFSD and facilitated adoption of the report. Member States appreciated greatly his work and contribution especially in smooth adoption a regional road map for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. Prof Ahsan Iqbal will remain the Chairman of APFSD until its next Session in 2018.