Development Advocate Pakistan: New quarterly highlights development challenges and solutions
Seeking the opportunity to share and foster robust national public discourse on development challenges and solutions in Pakistan and to provide a platform for Pakistani authorities, civil society and intelligentsia to exchange ideas on key development solution pathways in Pakistan, UNDP released its development magazine, The Development Advocate today.
A combination of analysis and public opinion articles promote and inform public discourse on development ideas while providing up-to-date information. This publication presents varying perspectives from civil society, academia, government and development partners, with an explicit effort to include the voices of women in youth in the ongoing dialogue.
The first edition titled A New Way Forward for Local Governance in Pakistan focuses on local governance including perspectives from the civil society, academia and government counterparts. In countries around the world, the absence of effective local governance arrangements exacerbates inequality, instability and underdevelopment, as well as social exclusion and lack of empowerment among youth, women and minority groups. Local government is fundamental to mitigating these grievances as it brings government closer to the people, and has the potential to increase the quality and coverage of services to citizens.
Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific launched the publication. He said, ‘The 18th Constitutional Amendment - unanimously passed in 2010 - has set new directions for Pakistan as a federal, democratic and parliamentary state. Pakistan is undergoing a very critical phase of implementation and transition management of this Amendment. In this most important endeavor - and at the request of the Government of Pakistan - UNDP is pleased to support the Government and the people of Pakistan in this process.’
Following the keynote address by Mr. Xu, the group of panelists shared their views and perspective on local governance and how Pakistan can implement wide reaching policy changes in favor of local governance. The panelists included Ms. Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson of the National Commission on the Status on Women, Mr. Saeed Shafqat, Director of Center for Public Policy and Governance, Mr. Harris Khalique, Analyst and Columnist and Mr. Babar Sattar, Lawyer. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Mehreen Khan, Television Broadcaster and Policy Specialist.
Mr. Shafqat, whose analysis - local government acts 2013 and province-local government relations - is included in the Development Advocate, said that with the advent of local governments, there also is a need to put civil service reform back on the agenda. The provinces could, for example, consider the establishment of the District Cadre Service and strengthen the Provincial Public Service Commissions. Also, the role of the Election Commission of Pakistan and the higher judiciary in upholding the spirit of the Constitution bodes well for the credibility and continuity of local governments.
Mr. Khalique added that Local governments provide religious minorities a better chance to make decisions that affect their daily lives at the grassroots level, while also providing a nursery for future higher level political leadership.
Mr. Marc-André Franche, Country Director UNDP in Pakistan thanked the panelists and said, “Today marks the beginning of what will be an ongoing discourse leading to innovative development solutions. We are creating a space for dialogue that bridges the gap between policy and people’s daily lives.”
For more information and media assistance, please contact, Fatimah Inayet, Communications Analyst, Communications Unit, UNDP.
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