Government of Punjab and UNDP launch Punjab Millennium Development Goals Report
Lahore, 7 September, 2012: The Planning and Development Department Government of Punjab in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the Punjab Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report 2011. This is the first ever report prepared by a UN agency and tracks progress against various MDGs in the province.
While speaking on the occasion, Secretary Planning & Development Department Arif Anwar Baloch said that the Punjab Government is committed to the welfare of the people especially those belonging to poor strata of society. The Government of Punjab has undertaken many important initiatives which aim at improving healthcare services, literacy rate and infrastructure services in the province. "Such initiatives of the Government have started yielding positive results and are bringing improvement in the lives of the masses," he said. Mr. Baloch thanked and appreciated the efforts of UNDP, and other UN agencies for their support in producing this important report. He said, "In the current financial year, the Punjab Government has increased the size of social sector budget to 86.46 billion rupees which is 49% of the total development portfolio."
Timo Pakkala, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, appreciated the efforts made by the Government of Punjab and said, "The report provides a comprehensive picture of the province in terms of its achievement towards MDGs."He also mentioned that despite adverse situations like floods and law & order situation having an impact on the economy of the province, Punjab had performed better than other provinces and in many indicators, its performance was ahead of national average. Mr. Pakkala reiterated the support of UNDP and UN System for the Government of Punjab to enable it to accelerate its efforts for achieving the MDGs by 2015. He also thanked the Government of the Punjab for facilitating UNDP and other UN agencies in preparation and finalizing the report. He hoped that the report will help policy makers in identifying gaps in indicators, particularly health and education, and formulate policies towards achievement of MDGs.
While making comments on the report, the panelists Dr. Naved Hamid of the Lahore School of Economics, Dr. Abid Aman Burki and Dr. Ali Cheema of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) desired that further research on the causes of slow progress in certain indicators needs to be seen in depth so that reasons are well identified and addressed by the Government of Punjab. They also hoped that such kind of reports would be made an annual feature of UNDP and Punjab Government activities.
The ceremony was well attended by government officials, academia, researchers and members of the civil society. Prominent amongst those who attended the ceremony were former Federal Secretary Mr. Inayat ullah, former chairman P&D Board Punjab Mr. Tariq Sultan, Maroof Afzal Secretary Public Prosecution, Sardar Akram Javed Secretary Social Welfare, Deputy Country Director (Programme) UNDP Jean-Luc Stalon, Ketsamay Bajra Charya Chief UNICEF Punjab, Director General Punjab Bureau of Statistics Shamim Rafique, Director General Social Welfare Malik Aslam, Director General Population welfare Qaiser Saleem, Zaman Khan HRCP Coordinator, Khalid Sultan Chief Social Welfare P&D and Zaman Wattoo Provincial Project Manager SPRSM.
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