ISLAMABAD: The much-awaited two-day Pakistan Governance Forum 2023 started on Tuesday to develop a roadmap for a stable, transparent, Agile and Responsible (STAR) governance system in the country.
The two-day event, being held under a landmark initiative of ‘Turnaround Pakistan’, is anticipated to serve as a pivotal platform for the exchange of ideas and the formulation of a comprehensive roadmap that will shape the future of governance in Pakistan.
The event was attended by hundreds of prominent figures from diverse sectors, political leaders, experts, and representatives from civil society who deliberated on a wide range of crucial aspects of governance. Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives, Professor Ahsan Iqbal was the chief guest at the occasion.
It is noted that during the two-day moot as many as 24 sessions are being held side-by-side under different themes in which experts shared their expertise, giving solutions to the confronted challenges in diverse fields.
In the inaugural session, Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal, emphasized the critical role of effective governance in the face of ‘unprecedented global changes’. The Minister acknowledged the challenges posed by rapid technological advancements, social transformation, and the growing demand for active citizen participation in governance. He stressed the need for a balanced approach that embraces change while preserving the stability and order in society.
The Minister urged for an inclusive and collaborative approach to governance, where political differences are set aside, and the entire nation works together as Team Pakistan to address the country’s challenges. He emphasized that governance must be responsible, transparent, and stable to build public trust and ensure accountability.
Prof Iqbal also stressed the significance of effective local governments to bring governance closer to communities and ensure their active participation in decision-making processes.
He highlighted the importance of the 5Es framework for Pakistan’s progress, focusing on Exports, E-Pakistan, Environment, Energy and Equity. He emphasized the significance of restructuring the economy to become an export-led growth economy and harnessing the power of Pakistan’s young population to become a leading player in the digital economy.
The Planning Minister expressed his commitment to work for the prosperity and growth of Pakistan, urging everyone to adopt a positive and collaborative approach.
It is noted that the Planning Ministry had established Governance Innovation Lab GIL to ensure transparency and improve service delivery in the country. The key objective of the lab is to enhance transparency and resolve problems faced by various government departments.
Addressing the governance challenges, Minister Iqbal emphasized the need for efficiency and transparency in government operations. He highlighted the implementation of policies and the importance of practical actions in bridging the “knowing-doing gap.”
Professor Iqbal expressed his commitment to work towards the prosperity and growth of Pakistan, urging everyone to adopt a positive and collaborative approach. He called for a collective effort in finding practical and doable ways to implement the country’s knowledge and wisdom for achieving sustainable development goals.
Member Governance, Innovation & Reforms at the Planning Commission, Dr. Adnan Rafiq, in his inaugural session outlined the essential components of STAR Governance system. He said that Pakistan Governance Forum 2023 is a testament to the government’s commitment to strengthening democratic principles and fostering a better Pakistan for all its citizens.
The forum recognized the paramount importance of continuity in inclusive, consultative, and evidence-based policies, calling for collaboration among all state organs, tiers of government, and key stakeholders. Dr. Rafique emphasized the need for harmony and teamwork within the constitutional framework.
Dr. Rafiq emphasized the necessity of anticipating and adapting to emerging challenges, such as climate change, geopolitical shifts, and pandemics. He emphasized the importance of evidence-based decision-making and leveraging technology to navigate uncertainties successfully.
Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Pakistan, Samuel Rizk, in his address acknowledged the importance of the forum’s discussions in shaping a governance roadmap that supports Pakistan’s inclusive growth and development. He appreciated the Planning Ministry for organizing the significant Forum, reflecting the long-standing partnership between UNDP and the Government of Pakistan in addressing the country’s challenges and opportunities.
Mr. Rizk highlighted the multiple crises that the world faces today, encompassing climate shocks, socioeconomic inequalities, global political polarization, and technological ambivalence. He emphasized that these crises demand urgent and collective action to address their profound impacts on billions of lives globally. Pakistan, with a population of over 240 million, predominantly comprising young individuals, is particularly vulnerable to these challenge.
Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr Mukhtar Ahmed in his address remarked that effective governance is the key in addressing the major issues prevalent in the education sector and society as a whole. He applauded the forum’s inclusion of themes that focus on transparency and responsibility, acknowledging that addressing such crucial topics might be challenging but is necessary for progress. He expressed optimism that the forum’s discussions would bring greater recognition to the importance of governance and prompt action in this critical area.
On first day of the event, around 12 sessions were held which includes, “Revamping Judicial System: Strategies for Building Legitimacy, Trust, and Accountability; Empowering the Parliament: Roadmap Towards Parliamentary Supremacy,” themed “Establishing Trichotomy of Power;” and “Past Experiences and Forging A Path Forward; Effective Mechanisms of Civil-Military Coordination During National Disasters and Emergencies,” themed “Harmonising Civil-Military Relations;” and “Strengthening National Policy Coordination: Evolving co-ordination mechanisms post; Political, Administrative and Financial Empowerment of Local Governance in Pakistan,” themed “Strengthening the Federation of Pakistan;” and “Shifting Focus: Developing an Effective Civil Service Recruitment, Retention and Performance Management System; Transparent governance: Enhancing Transparency to Eradicate Corruption themed “Reforming Public Sector Management,” besides four other sessions under the topic of “Innovation Hub.”
On second day of the forum, as many as 12 sessions would be held titled “Catalyzing Growth and Productivity through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs); Countering Fiscal Deficit: Alternative Approaches to sustainable Economic Recovery,” themed “Incentivizing Productive Economy;” and “Countering Extremism in Pakistan: Deciphering the Mob Lynching Phenomenon and Formulating Effective Strategies for Mitigation; Countering Cross-Border Terrorism: Strategies for Curtailing Terrorism and Repositioning Pakistan in a Changing Multipolar Global Landscape,” themed “Ensuring Peace and Security: Within and Beyond ;“ and “Impact of the Charter of Democracy and Policy Continuity on Democratic Stability in Pakistan; Tackling Political Polarization & Violence,” themed “Fostering Political Stability;” and “Communication, Public Opinion and Effective Governance; Promoting Economic Inclusion of the Youth: Boosting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Enabling Entrepreneurship,” themed “Social Inclusion by Harnessing the Potential of Youth & Women,” besides four different sessions under the topic of “Innovation Hub.”