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PM Imran Khan’s govt pursuing people-centric social agenda: Maleeha Lodhi

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi has said that said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government is taking steps to address poverty and help the underprivileged to gain access to education, employment and health care.
Speaking in the annual session of the UN Commission for Social Development, Maleeha Lodhi detailed priorities of the government and emphasized its commitment to the socio-economic welfare of the people especially the marginalized sections of society. Maleeha Lodhi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s people-centric policies are aimed at promoting financial inclusion, rural development, provision of educational opportunities, access to health care and poverty eradication.The Pakistani envoy also called for global cooperation to eradicate poverty and ensure social development for all.In this regard, she underscored the need for national and international commitment and action to reduce inequalities.Faced with a youth bulge, she said that Pakistan is looking to reaping a demographic dividend by providing opportunities for the growth and development of its young population and to maximize the potential of youth.The Prime Minister’s Youth Program envisages a broad canvas of steps aimed at enabling young people to access opportunities through skills development, higher education and information technology.“At the same time”, she said, “our new government has instituted a National Health Programme to provide health care to underprivileged citizens.‘Insaf Sehat Cards’ will potentially benefit over 15 million families for a start”.

The ambassador also highlighted Pakistan’s commitment to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment.She pointed to social safety initiatives like the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) as an example of help being extended to vulnerable segments of society to overcome extreme poverty and find livelihood case: Musharraf resubmits reply in Apex Court“We believe that the country’s social, political and economic development can only be sustained by ensuring gender equality and women’s empowerment”, she added.“In a world”, Maleeha Lodhi said, “where economies increasingly rely on sophisticated skills and well-trained citizens, my country considers education as an investment in its future”.Describing education as an equalizer, a means of inclusion and a vehicle to address marginalization, the Pakistani envoy said that through programs such as Waseela-e-Taleem the government is trying to increase primary enrollment and provide basic education to all.“This program has already benefited close to two million children across my country”, she added.The Pakistani envoy told the 193- member Commission that Pakistan has also put in place robust results-based monitoring systems to evaluate progress on a wide range of strategies to ensure the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Maleeha Lodhi noted that despite reduction in income inequality between countries in the past three decades, wide disparities within and among countries persist, based on income, gender, age, race, religion disability and opportunity.

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Pakistan meets UN target of female participation in peacekeeping operations: FO

ISLAMABAD : Pakistan’s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi the United Nations (UN) that Islamabad has enhanced the participation of women in UN peacekeeping operations, the Foreign Office (FO) has said in a statement.
Speaking at the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN,  Lodhi, said that, Pakistan is proud to have achieved the goal of deployment of 15 per cent female staff officers in its missions.
.Lodhi was referring to the fact that in less than 18 months, Pakistan has gone from zero participation of female military staff officers in peacekeeping operations to the UN prescribed benchmark of 15 per cent, the statement added.Based on the Security Council’s call in 2015 to double its female deployment in the uniform component, the UN’s Office of Military Affairs set the target of deploying 15 per cent female military and staff officers in peacekeeping missions by December 2018.
.The Pakistani envoy further informed the UN Committee that Pakistan was deploying an engagement team consisting of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo in May 2019.Ambassador Lodhi said that as a leading troop contributor as well as a host state, Pakistan would continue to support efforts to strengthen peacekeeping.
. “Our faith in this indispensable tool for the maintenance of international peace and security is firm and abiding,” she added.The Pakistani envoy also referred to United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and said that Pakistan had always supported the mission in the implementation of its mandate.
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She said that UNMOGIP had an important role to play in the maintenance of peace and security in a volatile neighborhood and called for its strengthening and expansion to make it more effective.The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, also known as C-34, is an annual forum where key stakeholders deliberate on issues of peacekeeping, and evolve policies to address emerging challenges.
.“This Committee”, Ambassador Lodhi said, “must play its role in norm building and policy formation, and enable peacekeepers to meet the high expectations that we all have of them”.UNGA president due in Pakistan next weekThe Pakistani envoy stressed that the safety and security of peacekeepers remained urgent as threats faced by them have increased due to complex and evolving conflicts.
.“Deployment decisions”, she said, “have to be based on consultations, preparation and knowledge of the ground situation”.Ambassador Lodhi also said that troop-contributing countries possessed practical on-ground and in mission experience which made their suggestions critical during mandate formulation, renewal and review stages.
.Calling for increased representation of major troop-contributing countries at leadership levels in the field and at headquarters, Ambassador Lodhi said that such a step would bring more field-based perspective in decisions related to peacekeeping operations.
Ambassador Lodhi also touched upon the issue of financing peacekeeping operations and criticized calls for cutting costs.
.Peacekeeping, she maintained, is already a cost-effective undertaking which draws strength from the collective political will of the international community. “We must, therefore, pool our best human resources, and ensure adequate financial and material resources for the success of this enterprise”, she added.
.“Achieving more with less is not sustainable”. “It is time we start enabling our peacekeepers to live up to the ideals that we claim to be committed to”, she added.
.UN credibility depends on success of peacekeeping operations: MaleehaStressing the need to preserve the fundamentals of peacekeeping, Ambassador Lodhi said that the legitimacy and credibility enjoyed by UN peacekeeping operations was based on the commitment to uphold these principles.Blurring the lines, she underscored, was fraught with risk as it would impact the UN’s neutrality and credibility.

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The Department of Arts & Culture hosts the 2019 South African Film Summit

In a statement released by the Department of Arts & Culture, Minister Nathi Mthethwa said: “Policy coordination and coherence is important to ensure there are no unnecessary bottlenecks, contradictions and gaps that will negatively impact on the business environment while simultaneously encouraging investment, particularly from the private sector. Addressing South Africa’s positioning in the film sector, not only in the continent but also globally, is an important one if the country is to compete in the creative economy”.There is no doubt that the Arts & Culture sector is a key player in enhancing the Nation Brand and growing the economy.

According to The World Economic Forum’s 2017 report on The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa, the creative industries is considered one of ‘trending’ professions, with an average growth rate of 7% between 2011 and 2016.Attendees of this year’s South African Film Summit experienced windows of information sharing through case studies, measuring South Africa’s growth against other countries in the developing world.As all sectors ensure readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we look forward to proactive resolutions to come out of the Summit, putting in all efforts to develop the local film industry.

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