ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday urged the need to bring about an attitudinal shift from rapid consumption to conserving water and energy enabling Pakistan to minimize its financial and economic difficulties.
The president, addressing the opening plenary of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute’s (SDPI) 25th Sustainable Development Conference here, said by closing businesses early in the evening, the country could save 3000 to 4000 megawatts of energy.
Similarly, he said, the country could also save precious rain and flood water, and reuse it for agriculture and other purposes by making small and big water reservoirs.
The president said, “Our attitudes should be targeted towards reducing waste reduction and littering our unnecessary desires and wants and striving to live a happy life based upon our cherished religious and Islamic values of love for ourselves, for family, neighbours, humanity, and nation without hating other nations and love for all creations, both living and non-living, and love for Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and Allah Almighty.
He called for bringing meaningful changes in people’s attitudes to overcome the country’s economic and financial issues and lay down a strong foundation for a happy life.
He said now that the floods were over, the country was entering into the rehabilitation of the flood-affected areas and flood victims in most parts of the country.
President Alvi, apprising the audience about the various stages of handling crises and issues, said it started by recognizing the issue, creating a baseline, factoring in past experiences, and benchmarking good practices within the country and around the world.
He advised,” We should define our goals, set KPIs and a time-line and then put our minds and resources into the set goal.”
While talking about population control, he said due to cultural taboos, people were reluctant to approach and buy contraceptives to stop unwanted pregnancies, which were 50% of the total pregnancies of 9 million in a year.
He said the world had entered into an era of abundance of food through the use of high-yielding seeds, highly efficient water conservation techniques, the use of artificial intelligence to provide micronutrients, which had the ability to produce abundance of food even in Pakistan and the hunger could easily be controlled.
President Alvi said Pakistan was able to control the COVID-19 pandemic in a much better and more scientific manner compared to regional countries by repeatedly conveying the message to clean hands, wear masks and observe social distancing.
SDPI Board of Governors’ Chairman Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel, in his welcome address, said the Institute was offering research-based and evidence-based policy inputs to the government for the formulation of policies.
Mikkiko Tanaka from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said South and South-west Asia needed to strengthen their partnership for coping with common issues.
SDPI’s Executive Director Abid Sulehri gave a brief overview of the three-day conference. He said the conference discussed recent challenges like COVID-19, Ukraine War, and climate change.