Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal Thursday said the Pakistan government was keen to explore partnerships and find solutions together with the private sector to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The way forward for Pakistan is to develop an economic value proposition that creates incentives for financial markets and private investors to participate in sustainable development through a strategic partnership, and innovative financial instruments supported by a conducive policy framework,” the minister said while speaking at a conference on Localization of VNR process here at the United Nations Headquarters.

The event was co-sponsored by Switzerland, Pakistan, Ghana, and Montenegro.

The minister thanked the organizers and co-organizers for arranging the forum on “leaving no one behind” for the resilient recovery.

He said the increased uncertainty due to COVID-19 had thrust the world into a rare confluence of geopolitical realignment, supply disruptions, food and energy insecurity, and more volatile financial markets.

Pakistan’s second VNR Report records the progress for the national headline indicators, he said adding that the report had been painstakingly compiled and produced at a pivotal time, when the country had faced unprecedented human and economic toll, and continues an uphill struggle to address the inequities in rolling out its recovery and rehabilitation efforts pan-Pakistan.

As a result, Ahsan Iqbal said our second VNR also considers the loss of development gains and resulting delays in achieving agenda 2030.

“While we are struggling to contain our internal and external macroeconomic imbalances, the Government of Pakistan is determined to turn around the situation.”

He said Pakistan was a resilient nation that had confronted similar debt levels and deficits in the past - and successfully emerged out of those crises.

“We feel that leveraging the youth bulge, making space for the private sector, and focusing on governance, regulation, and the social sector, will be key for future sustainability and advancing on SDG 2030 agenda.”

Today, he said one of the biggest challenges for us is to configure innovative ways for managing multiple challenges while also leveraging the many opportunities they offer.

The objective of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) is to look at how countries are progressing, and meeting the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The minister added that inclusivity is the key to achieve sustainable development. It accelerates progress when it brings along equity with it. We are making our progress towards 2030.

The pandemic deepened the cracks of inequality, leading several countries down the treacherous path of borrowing to salvage economic solvency, he added.

He said the global scenario appears bleak, with even developed countries now reeling from its after-effects. There is a dire need for home-grown solutions that are centered around the principle of sustainability and self-sufficiency.

Fully utilizing youth potential, positioning women as powerful agents of economic growth and prosperity, and channeling marginalized segments of society into sustainable and community-driven social safety nets, can reduce burdens on the state and accrue overall benefits for the economy.

“We are making a conscious effort to extensively and strategically engage stakeholders as we wanted our second VNR to be a compendium of our national and provincial undertakings, collective knowledge creation, purposeful resources’ redirection and unanimous political commitment towards advancing the SDG agenda,” he added.