Priorities, challenges and opportunities in South Punjab discussed

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A day-long discussion was held in Bahawalpur on Thursday on development priorities, challenges and opportunities in South Punjab.

The UN in Pakistan, in collaboration with the Government of Punjab, and the South Punjab Secretariat brought together, for the first time, officials of the federal and provincial governments, parliamentarians, member states, development partners, civil society and academia for this in-depth session.

The discussions centred around the administrative, developmental and governance challenges in the region and focused on formulating a strategy to provide the needed technical and financial support to improve the development indicators in South Punjab.

The day before the dialogue, the participants were given an opportunity to visit different projects in the area and witness the on-going work, as well as interact with the local men and women benefiting from these projects. Three teams spend the day visiting three different areas, i.e. Multan, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur. This was the starting point for the discussion during the next day.

Additional Chief Secretary South Punjab Mr. Saqib zafar, Chairman P&D Borad Mr. Abdullah Sunbal, Secretray EAD Mian Asad Hayaud Din, representative UNRC Mr. Julian Harnies, MPA Uzma Kardar addressed the inaugural session.

Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusroo Bakhtiar and Provincial Minister for Finance Makhdook Jawan Bakht participated in the development dialogue through video link.

The Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in his video message also mentioned the UN’s work on the Living River Initiative, which is being undertaken on the Prime Minister’s advice. A similar consultative process is being followed for developing the master plan in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar in his video link address said that he feels great pride that the UN, in collaboration with the government, organized the South Punjab Deep Dive, which has immense potential to address the challenges of development planning in terms of not only prioritizing the development gaps.

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