Pakistan, European Union celebrate 60 years of bilateral relations

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Quetta, NOV 22: /DNA/ – Today is the 1st day of the 36th AGM and Conference of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) on “Unleashing Tomorrow: Investment, Productivity, and Employability,” hosted by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), in collaboration with the Baluchistan University of Information Technology, Engineering, and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Quetta.

Very refreshing and invigorating welcome remarks by the Chief Guest at today’s inaugural session of the Conference. Acting Governor Baluchistan, Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali, talked about the need for Baluchistan to have access to power and resources but limited institutions and thought on utilizing those most effectively to make Baluchistan a key province of Pakistan. Guidance from the rest of the country and from experts is needed to assist Balochistani institutes in policy making. 

The Honorable Acting Governor acknowledged the focus on provinces after the 18th Amendment but put forward the question of whether provinces have the capacity to carry out this responsibility?

Considering all this, Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali said it is essential that all policy think tanks and intellectuals come together to guide and help the provinces, including Balochistan, in formulating their policy.

Earlier, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed, former head of the PIDE School of Public Policy and currently serving as the secretary of PSDE, delivered the address and said that the AGM was the most prestigious and important gathering of economists and public policy researchers in the country. He shed light on the theme of the Conference while acknowledging the crucial economic crisis and political polarization the country was going through. 

The secretary thanked the sponsors of the 36thg AGM, which is one of the biggest and most prestigious events where economists, academicians, and researchers from across the country and abroad meet and discuss ideas. Research paper presentations, panel discussions, and guest lectures from Nobel laureates and esteemed academics further ornament the Conference. The PSDE has been organizing it since 1982, and currently, the 36th AGM is underway in collaboration with BUITEMS Baluchistan.

It is my first time in Quetta and Baluchistan province since I arrived here in Pakistan at the end of June. Therefore, I could not think of a better occasion than this Conference, which is coming at a challenging time for Pakistan, expressed Her Excellency Riina Kionka, Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan as a guest of honor of the opening session of the Conference. 

She stated that these are challenging times. The world is continuing to cope with the consequences of COVID-19 and high energy prices, inflation and the onslaught of climate change. Climate is changing faster than we can adapt. Pakistan has witnessed a damaging impact in recent floods. In this context, Team Europe has also put in action the assistance of 138 million euros for Pakistan to alleviate immediate problems emanating from flooded areas, including Sindh and Balochistan.

You all must have been closely watching the developments of the COP27 Conference in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, HE Kionka asked the audience. Pakistan and its negotiators have played a critical role in harnessing a convergence point where a loss and damage fund for climate change mitigation has been agreed upon. You should be proud of it, as this is a historic moment. EU is also doing its part. It is responsible for 9% of global emissions but contributes 30% of global public financing for the climate.

She further said that Pakistan and the European Union are celebrating 60 years of bilateral relations this year. Both countries engage in political and economic issues – particularly on trade and migration, climate change, development cooperation, etc. So, all these things make up what we call a partnership of strategic nature.