ISLAMABAD, Oct 26 (APP):Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani on Thursday reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering support and commitment to fostering cooperation in critical and practical areas in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) region including enhancing connectivity and transport links, youth empowerment, investment in key sectors with high regional potential, such as agriculture, mining, minerals, energy, and information technology.
He said during Pakistan’s Chair of Council of Heads of Government (CHG) Pakistan will also continue to strengthen cooperation in the fields of education and poverty alleviation.
Addressing the meeting of SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG) in Bishkek, the foreign minister said as the succeeding Chair of the Council, Pakistan would continue to support the existing mechanisms and welcome new initiatives.
The council is the second-highest body within the SCO and focuses on issues related to economy, finance, trade and socio-economic collaboration.
Jilani said SCO was the key platform for taking the vision of Eurasian connectivity to the next level. Pakistan’s location at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East makes it an ideal trade conduit.
He informed that Pakistan planed to host a Conference on Transport Connectivity for Regional Prosperity to ensure an economically integrated region.
The foreign minister highlighted that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a force multiplier for regional connectivity. “Lack of connectivity is an impediment to regional trade, investment and development. CPEC does not only connect Pakistan to its neighbour China but also offers all SCO Member States a chance to invest in our shared future and full regional economic integration.”
SCO Business Council and SCO Interbank Association can play a vital role in fostering economic and commercial cooperation among SCO member states, through strengthening interaction among entrepreneurs and promoting people-to-people contact, he said adding the Council and the Association could also facilitate investment in areas of mutual benefit for all SCO Member States.
“To advance these objectives and bolster connections among businessmen and industrialists from SCO Member States, Pakistan proposes to host SCO Businessmen Conference,” he added.
Keeping in mind the the importance of empowerment of youth, he proposed to host a Conference on Youth Empowerment Through Digital Economy.
He said regardless of varied stages of economic development, all SCO member states were still faced with challenges related to poverty and food security.
“We can overcome these challenges through common efforts and by learning from each other’s experiences,” he added.
“We are confident that under Pakistan’s permanent chairmanship of the Special Working Group on Poverty Alleviation, significant impetus can be provided to our collective endeavors aimed at improving the living standards of our people”, he remarked.
The foreign minister said “We are currently in the planning stages of hosting the inaugural session of the Special Working Group on Poverty Alleviation, focused on Leveraging Digital Technologies to Enhance Social Safety Nets in SCO Member States.”
He said sustainable economic development could not be guaranteed without durable peace and security.
“Ensuring stability in Afghanistan is imperative for safeguarding peace and stability of our region. SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group can play an important role in this regard. Reviving the Contact Group can foster dialogue and meaningfully assist the Afghan authorities in overcoming their economic challenges and building their counter-terrorism capacities,” he added.
With respect to the climate-induced disaster that threatens humanity’s survival and demands global solidarity for a global response, the foreign minister said Pakistan was committed to working for a sustainable and nature positive world. SCO, as the most significant regional organisation, is well placed to become the pioneer of multilateral practical cooperation for dealing with emergency situations.
“To tap on this mutually beneficial potential of our Organisation, Pakistan plans to host a meeting on Prevention and Response to Emergency Situations,” he added.
As the incoming Chair of CHG, he said Pakistan’s aim would be to make the organization more action-oriented. In pursuit of this goal, we eagerly anticipate the collaboration and support of the SCO Secretariat and our esteemed Member States in devising a robust Implementation and Monitoring Mechanism.
The mechanism could serve as an instrumental tool for tracking progress across a diverse array of socio-economic sectors, he added.