ISLAMABAD : Caretaker Finance Minister, Dr Shamshad Akhtar Thursday stressed the need for mainstreaming urbanization to lead the country towards sustained development and promote growth and prosperity.
She was addressing the launching ceremony of the State of Pakistani Cities (SPC) report, spearheaded by the Ministry of Climate Change with the technical assistance of United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat).
She said the growth in urbanization was due to many factors including internal migration, influx of refugees, natural disasters, economic disparities in rural areas and decline in agricultural sector.
The minister said various countries had to face a number of challenges due to urbanization including waste management, carbon emission and lack of civic sense, stressing the need that mainstreaming, equity and inclusiveness should be main principles of urbanization, which would help socio-economic development.
She also cited example of Karachi where urbanization had created lot of problems. She also highlighted the importance of focusing on sustainable development goals (SDGs) to help create a better Pakistan.
The minister was of the view that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would help to link cities and municipalities.
It is pertinent to mention here that the SPC report had identified the underlying socioeconomic drivers contributing to the state of urbanization in the ten largest cities namely, Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Peshawar, Multan, Hyderabad, Islamabad and Quetta and their efficacy to respond to the urbanization challenges.
The report cited that increasing urbanization had created demands for housing in cities while the absence of any formal provision for lower-income urban population and the people migrating from rural areas to urban areas has resulted in the creation of large number of informal settlements, lacking access to adequate level of services.
Access to clean drinking water, lack of sewage treatment facilities and solid waste management, shortage of power supply and so many other issues have been identified in report as a result of urbanization.
The findings of the study reveal that the ten selected cities make up more than half of the total urban population, accounting for 54 percent of the national urban population.
The report says that Pakistani cities need to better plan and manage their development to meet the needs and demands of their citizens and indeed of the country.