Saturday September 25, 2021

Moot on environment, sustainable development begins

September 14, 2021

LAHORE:A three-day international conference on “Environment and Sustainable Development” on Monday began at the Government College University, Lahore, under the auspices of its Sustainable Development Study Centre (SDSC) to discuss the significance of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and their impact on the country’s future.

Member National Assembly (MNA) Riaz Fatyana, Convener of National Parliamentary Taskforce on SDGs, chaired the inaugural session marked by key note addresses from Prof Dr Shahbaz Khan from UNESCO China and Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi.

Punjab Minister for Environment Protection Muhammad Rizwan and GCU SDSC Director Prof Dr Faiza Sharif also addressed the inaugural ceremony. The theme of this year’s conference is “Partnership for the Goals”.

In his keynote address on “South-South Cooperation for Delivering a Knowledge-based for Sustainable Development”, Dr Shahbaz Khan put an emphasis on two key areas relative to the sustainable development goals i.e. climate change and biodiversity. He stated that the SDGs were interlinked and despite all the challenges, Pakistan was still progressing well.

Dr Khan also talked about the significance of United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation working at local and provincial levels with a five-year cycle plan. He concluded his talk on the role UNESCO is playing in ending discrimination and promoting intellectual dialogue.

Riaz Fatyana highlighted the efforts of government to promote academic excellence, environmental protection policies for solid waste management, noise and land pollution, plantation drive, ecotourism and conservation of national parks.

Talking about how SDGs put ageing firmly onto the agenda of development, GCU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi put an emphasis on the issue of population aging and how sustainable development helped to bring the agenda on international level. He talked about the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda that is focused on social inclusion of older people and can be related to all SDGs.

“The sustainable development goals are relevant to older people in ending poverty for all sections of society, including older people, ending malnutrition and hunger, and promoting health coverage that specifically include vulnerable sections of society i.e. people above the age of 60,” the VC said.

Prof Zaidi concluded his speech on the remarks that sustainable development and inclusion of older people is a common challenge in regions like Eastern Asia and Latin America, but we must embark on agendas to help meet the sustainable development goals. Muhammad Rizwan said that the sustainability cannot be achieved overnight. “I have specifically focused to put an end on the poisonous emissions due to the hazardous waste by working on implementation policies during my tenure,” the minister said. He explained how only a slight change in global temperature would cause an irreversible damage.