Mirpur: Additional Chief Secretary for Development in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Fayaz Ali Abbasi, has stated that the government is actively working on a comprehensive plan to achieve sustainable development goals in the region through its participation in the United Nations’ development programs. Efforts are ongoing to combat poverty and promote well-being throughout the state, with a primary focus on providing quality education and healthcare services to the majority of the population.
Significant infrastructure development is underway to boost economic and financial growth and reduce unemployment. The impact of climate change on Azad Jammu and Kashmir has led to the formulation of plans to address these challenges. Local communities are being provided with alternative means of livelihood, alongside efforts to protect the forests and natural resources.
Fiaz Ali Abbasi addressed a one-day seminar organized under the United Nations Pakistan’s “Dialogue for Sustainable Development” initiative held in a local hotel. The event also featured speeches by Mio Sato, UN Resident Coordinator, and Commissioner Chaudhry Shaukat AliOverall, Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s participation in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals program is expected to have a significantly positive impact, leading to economic and social progress in Mirpur, ultimately improving the well-being of its residents.
Additional Chief Secretary for Development, Fiaz Ali Abbasi, emphasized that poverty and educational and healthcare disparities are significant barriers to sustainable development. Addressing these issues is crucial because poverty and inequality resulting from unequal opportunities hinder stability and progress in society, leading to various challenges for the state and its people.
The United Nations has prepared a comprehensive plan for sustainable and prosperous development under the Sustainable Development Agenda 2023. This initiative aims to initiate a global campaign for social, economic, and financial development and well-being. It is heartening to note that Azad Jammu and Kashmir is also part of this global project’s goals, and the spirit of this project is being implemented in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He added that the provision of modern medical facilities and better nutrition is essential to combat poverty, and a plan is in place to provide Azad Kashmiri citizens with modern medical facilities and quality nutrition.
While acknowledging the challenges involved in achieving sustainable development, Fiaz Ali Abbasi emphasized that Azad Kashmir has all the necessary elements such as education infrastructure, energy, and agricultural resources, along with healthy and skilled individuals, to overcome these obstacles. Therefore, the government is determined to achieve these goals and alleviate poverty, unemployment, and other forms of deprivation in all aspects and dimensions.
It is heartening that in this endeavor, we will receive financial and technical support from various member countries, including the United Nations. Fiaz Ali Abbasi highlighted that although it is a challenging and labor-intensive task, the presence of educational infrastructure, energy, and agricultural requirements, along with equality and equitable opportunities, makes it easier to achieve these goals in Azad Kashmir. The government is also improving the quality of education, which has resulted in higher literacy rates than other parts of Pakistan. Quality education is seen as a vital tool for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.
Fiaz Ali Abbasi further stated that the government has prioritized the elimination of poverty and disease causes. Substantial work is being done at the grassroots and urban levels, including better income, improved sanitation, clean drinking water supply, and increased business and skill development. Azad Kashmir, like other regions in the world, is experiencing the effects of climate change. However, the government has taken timely notice of this and enacted legislation for forest conservation. Now, there is a complete ban on cutting down green trees throughout the state. Tree planting is being carried out twice a year, offering discounted rates for fruit-bearing and shade-providing trees to the public.
Fiaz Ali Abbasi encouraged the youth to set targets and objectives in the field of education, enabling them to face challenges confidently in their practical lives. He expressed confidence that the United Nations’ program for sustainable development will bring significant progress, making the pathways to economic and financial development smoother and improving the well-being of the people in Mirpur.