Tuesday September 27, 2022

Pakistan firm on reducing poverty by 2023: UN told

July 17, 2019

UNITED NATIONS: Reiterating that eradication of poverty is Prime Minister Imran Khan government's top priority, a senior Pakistani diplomat told the United Nations that Pakistan is striving hard to significantly reduce poverty in the next four years.

"Pakistan is committed to reducing poverty from 24.3 percent to 19 percent by year 2023, while reducing the multidimensional poverty headcount from 38.8 per cent to 30 per cent over the same period," Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said.

The Pakistani envoy made these remarks in her opening address at a side-event in connection with the 2019 High-Level Political Forum (HPLF). The event was organised by the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the UN.

Other panelists who participated in the discussion on 'Reducing Poverty and Promoting Equality' were the members of Pakistan's National Assembly -- Parliamentary Secretary for Planning Development and Reforms, Kanwal Shuzab, Parliamentary Secretary for Law & Justice, Barrister Maleeka Bokhari, and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Law & Justice/Convener for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Riaz Fatyana.

Navid Hanif, Director of the Financing for Development in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and Neil Buhne, UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, also took part.

Ambassador Lodhi said poverty was the fundamental reason for many social, economic, political and security issues around the world, and was among the many root causes of extremism and intolerance.

That was why eradication of poverty topped the global sustainable development agenda, the Pakistani envoy said. In his very first address to the nation on becoming Prime Minister, she told a large gathering of delegates, the Pakistani leader had made it clear that eliminating poverty was his top priority and has since embarked on a series of anti-poverty measures - unprecedented in the country's history.

The recently launched Ehsaas programme, she said, was one of the largest programmes for the poor in Pakistan launched by Prime Minister Khan.

"Despite our challenges", she also said, "Pakistan has made progress in poverty reduction over the past decade," the Pakistani envoy said, pointing out a 26 percent decline in the national poverty line, and over 16 percent in terms of the multidimensional poverty headcount."

That progress was attributable to Pakistan's multi-sectoral poverty reduction strategy, which encompasses targeted interventions, such as the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), as well as private philanthropy and improved access to microfinance for rural communities, also the result of a public-private partnership.

"In all our efforts we seek international cooperation and global partnerships so we can truly reach the goal of leaving no one behind," Ambassador Lodhi added.

Elaborating Ehsaas' poverty reduction strategy, Ms. Shuzab, the Parliamentary Secretary for Planning Development and Reforms, said it was articulated in four pillars and it currently embodies 115 policy actions, which may be expanded as the process of consultations on the programme, further widens.

These four pillars include: addressing elite capture and making the government system work to create equality; safety nets for disadvantaged segments of the population; jobs and livelihoods; and human capital development.