Friday May 20, 2022

UNDP strives for viable development in Punjab

By Our Correspondent
May 12, 2022

LAHORE:Aligned with the commitment to support government in bridging the financing gap for equitable and sustainable development, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan, through its Punjab SDGs Support Unit, organised a consultation with diverse stakeholders on Financing for Development in Punjab at a local hotel on Wednesday.

The consultative session was the first of many to be conducted all over Pakistan and was held under UNDP’s Insurance and Risk Finance Facility. These consultations aim to acquire in-depth knowledge of the on-ground landscape, opportunities, and issues of disaster risk financing in the provinces and will focus on informing and engaging policymakers and experts on UNDP’s flagship initiative of Pakistan’s first-ever SDG Investor Map.

Through its dynamic impact intelligence tool, the SDG Investor Map, UNDP will identify a range of market-specific investment opportunities for SDG-aligned capital deployment backed up by country-specific data and evidence. The consultation will contribute to UNDP’s efforts in developing this map, in order to position the country in regional and global markets to encourage private sector investments. The consultative session also provided a platform to engage policymakers, SDGs experts, sector specialists, representatives of govt, the private sector, and civil society to discuss the regional context and suggest actionable policy recommendations on mainstreaming financing for development and building effective Risk Financing Regimes. The participants deliberated on the status and history of natural disaster-related vulnerabilities, gaps, development needs, and policy priorities for risk financing and SDG investments in Punjab. The need for development financing has intensified due to COVID-19-triggered sovereign debt crises, especially in developing countries like Pakistan.

The UN estimates that there is a US$ 2.5 trillion annual gap in the US$ 5-7 trillion in investment required to achieve SDGs. The role of the private sector is extremely important here, especially in the wake of multiple economic challenges and the burgeoning financing gap countries are facing.

Speaking at the occasion, Faisal Fareed, DG Punjab Disaster Management Authority, said, “Building disaster resilience is integral to effective risk management, and adequate financing and budgetary allocations for disaster management and preparedness are critical for enabling this. Punjab’s geographic location and climatic conditions make it vulnerable to natural disasters, particularly river flooding, hill torrents, heatwaves, and earthquakes. There is a dire need that stakeholders must synergise efforts with the government and mobilise resources to ensure an effective response to climate change impacts. I congratulate UNDP for taking this critical initiative and leading the way in finding innovative solutions for filling the gap in climate change financing.”

“UNDP Pakistan is committed to supporting the government to identify and prioritise investments toward the SDGs, access much-needed research and training to build the resilience of the disaster-stricken vulnerable communities and develop the capacities required to leverage private and public capital,” said Knut Ostby, Resident Representative, UNDP Pakistan.

“Punjab is the first province to develop its Integrated Financing Strategy that aims to bridge existing SDGs financing gaps in Punjab through innovative financing models to accelerate SDG's impact,’’ said Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Chairman of the Planning & Development Board Punjab. Other notable participants include Ms Ammara Durrani, Assistant Resident Representative and Chief, Development Policy Unit, UNDP Pakistan, Faisal Fareed, Director General, Punjab Disaster Management Authority, Dr M Hanif, Chief Meteorologist, Pakistan Meteorological Department, Mian Nauman Kabir, President Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industries, Tariq Naseem, Additional Secretary Technical, Forest, Wildlife & Fisheries Department Punjab, Javed Afzal, Provincial Chief, SMEDA, Waqar Azeem, Member Production Sector, P&D Board Punjab, Sadaqat Hussain Khan, Member Energy, P&D Board Punjab, Masood, Director General, Punjab Public-Private Partnership Authority and Dr Amjad Saqib, CEO Akhuwat.