Pakistan has told the United Nations that the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan is pursuing a number of people-centric policies designed to eliminate poverty by boosting sustainable economic growth of the country.
“These policies are aimed at reducing inequality by promoting financial inclusion, agricultural growth, rural development, provision of educational opportunities, access to healthcare and poverty eradication,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said.
The Pakistani envoy, speaking at the 57th session of the UN Commission for Social Development, also called for global co-operation to eradicate poverty and social development for all.
Lodhi said that Pakistan’s big youth bulge had provided the government a unique opportunity to benefit from the demographic dividend and harness the potential of youth by providing openings for their growth and development.
In addition, she said that the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme objectives entailed a broad canvas of schemes aimed at enabling youth and the underprivileged to access employment opportunities through skills development, higher education and information technology.
At the same time, Lodhi said that the government had instituted a National Health Programme to provide healthcare to underprivileged citizens.
“Insaf Sehat Cards” or “Health Cards” would potentially benefit over 15mn families, for a start.
Pakistan, the envoy said, considers education an investment in its future.
By implementing policies such as “Waseela-e-Taleem”, a conditional cash transfer programme for education to increase primary enrolment and completion, the government is seeking to provide basic education to all.
“We also believe that the country’s social, political and economic development can only be sustained by strengthening mechanisms that ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment,” Lodhi said.
Through social safety initiatives like the cash transfer-based and female empowerment-focused Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), vulnerable segments are being helped to overcome extreme poverty and find livelihoods, the envoy said.
Robust results-based monitoring systems to evaluate progress on a wide range of strategies have been put in place to ensure implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In her remarks, Lodhi noted that despite reduction in income inequality between countries in the past three decades, wide disparities within and among countries persist, based on income, gender, age, race, religion, disability and opportunity.
In this regard, she underscored the need for national and international commitment and action to reduce inequalities.
“International co-operation and the promotion of partnerships and acceptance of mutual responsibility are of critical importance,” Lodhi said. “We hope our discussions this year will help lead to the realisation of our shared goals of empowering the people by eradicating poverty and ensuring social integration.”