Gone are the days when environmental issues only bothered environmentalists. Today, economists and sociologists are also concerned about the environment as no sustainable social or economic policy can be worked out with a disregard to the environmental factors.
University of Karachi (KU) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan said this while delivering the presidential address at a three-day international conference, ‘Towards Inclusive Governance and Efficient Institutions for Sustainable Development’, organised by KU’s Applied Economics Research Centre (AERC) at Hussain Ebrahim Jamal (HEJ) Auditorium at the varsity. Environmental issues are key issues which human beings are facing in the contemporary era and every individual should play their role in resolving them, the VC said.
Dr Khan also touched upon the subject of good governance in his speech. Good governance plays a pivotal role in any country’s progress, he said, adding that accountability, rule of law, transparency and provision of facilities to citizens on equal basis constitute good governance. History teaches us that those societies prospered which gave equal opportunities of livelihood to their citizens, Dr Khan remarked.
“In Pakistan, we make new policies and change them after a few years,” the VC said, adding that there should be sustainability in our policy making process. Sustainable development is only possible if we make sustainable policies that are not changed when one government is replaced by another, Dr Khan asserted.
Delivering the keynote address, High Commissioner of Canada in Pakistan, Perry John Calderwood, said it should be a right of every citizen to participate fully in all aspects of society, including its governance structures.
Touching upon the crisis in Syria, the high commissioner said Canada accepted 35,000 Syrian refugees last year and will accept the same number of refugees this year as well.
“Extremist ideologies find fertile recruiting ground in countries where there are high levels of inequality, and in which segments of the population are excluded from participation in governance”, Calderwood said. The high commissioner added that gender equality is a must feature in any inclusive society. Many of the world’s largest countries have never had a woman leader, including the United States, China, Japan and France, he said.
AERC Director Prof Dr Samina Khalil gave the welcome address and thanked all the foreign guest speakers and diplomats for attending the conference.
Presenting their research paper, Ishtiaq Ahmed and Ali Azam said sustainable development is the key for the survival of future generations. Countries focus more on improving their economic indicators but in doing so they ignore whether the improvement in economic indicators is resulting in the general welfare of people, they said.
Manzoor Hussain Memon, Muhammad Abdul Kalam and Khalid Khan were of the view that developing countries have to get rid of corruption in order to be on the path of sustainable development. Corruption is one of the main indicators of assessing quality of governance, they said, adding that abuse of the authority for unlawful personal gains retards economic growth and development process.