Ambassador Nong hopes Pak-China cooperation in green development will emerge as driving force in CPEC
Zubair Qureshi Islamabad
While eulogizing China’s continued support for Pakistan, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan’s iron brother country has been supporting infrastructure development in Pakistan since President Xi Jinping’s visit when he announced to invest $46 billion under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in 2014.
Speaking at “China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Green-Development High Level Policy Dialogue” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) held here on Thursday, he said the agreement was followed by an investment inflow of $29 billion in the same year.
These investments proved instrumental for CPEC and supported development of infrastructure such as road networks and introduced alternative energy sources in the country.
He said that the government was reinvigorating to complete development of 9 Special Economic Zones in Pakistan and move to strengthening industrial cooperation. He termed political stability, social solidarity and continuity of policies as the prerequisites for socio-economic progress and prosperity.
Ahsan Iqbal said that creating an enabling environment for business to business relations was key to attract and avail foreign investments in the country and re-emphasized government’s commitment to fast track green development projects under CPEC.
China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong said that the prime focus of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and CPEC is on on sustainable initiatives in green infrastructure, green energy, green finance and modern agriculture.
He said China as an iron brother is committed to support Pakistan in realizing its green development vision through knowledge sharing and technology transfers. The Ambassador said that under CPEC projects, employment has been generated for people in Pakistan and the projects have benefitted the people in different ways.
He expressed the hope that Pak-China cooperation in green development would emerge as a driving force in CPEC and would further strengthen brotherly relations between the two nations. He recalled the Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s exhibited commitment to further cement relations between the two countries.
Dr Abid Suleri, Executive Director SDPI, said that the green development of CPEC is crucial keeping in mind the triple planetary crisis and climate change in particular. Pakistan has witnessed unprecedented challenge of extreme climate events in recent years in the form of flash floods and heat waves. At the same time, no country is immune to climate change. He said that in future, Pakistan and China will be focusing on modern agriculture and livestock farming due to the harsh impacts of climate change on agriculture. He said we have already witnessed 40% reduction in mango harvest and similar impact on wheat produce. He said that there is an agreement on focusing on increasing cooperation in areas of research and development especially for climate smart agriculture and tapping in the true potential of Gwadar.
Ambassador of Pakistan to China Moin-ul-Haque said CPEC had transformed the landscape of Pakistan due to its all encompassing nature and has driven development and employment in the remotest areas in Pakistan. He commended that CPEC projects are taking environment, ecology, biodiversity into consideration.