Fourth Ministers and the sixth Secretaries Meeting of the SAARC on Poverty Alleviation concluded
The fourth meeting of SAARC Ministers preceded by the sixth meeting of the SAARC secretaries on poverty alleviation was held in the capital last week.
While the meeting of SAARC Ministers reviewed the implementation of the decisions that had taken at the third ministerial meeting and discuss the issues, share experiences, best practices and to take forward new ideas in addressing poverty and strengthen ties in terms of regional cooperation amongst member states.
The Chairman of the SAARC Secretaries meeting, Secretary for Gross National Happiness Commission, Mr. Sonam Wangchuk, said that despite considerable progress made towards poverty alleviation, certain section of the population still remain under poverty. In all our countries, poverty still remains key challenge for the region.
The Chairman of the SAARC Ministers on poverty alleviation and the Finance Minister Lyonpo Namgay Dorji, said that the fourth ministerial meeting of the poverty alleviation was a special events for Bhutan as she hosted the meeting for the first time.
Lyonpo added that this meeting was also a timely as SAARC decades on poverty alleviation 2006-2016 is coming to an end and therefore, time for the members states to take stop of an achievement so far an effort to free South Asia from poverty. As a global community SAARC must take note of the achievement and the challenges face in achieving millennium development goal as we embark towards preparation of the sustainable development goals for the post 2050.
As a SAARC decades on poverty is coming to an end, recent devastating earthquake that struck Nepal this year. Such a natural calamities of unbelievable magnitudes obviously impact on plans, policies, strategies an pushes people to poverty once again and reopen the challenges, said the Minister .
Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay who was the Chief Guest at the inauguration of the fourth meeting of SAARC Ministers at Tashi Taj said that eradicating hunger and food poverty remains an important objective given that this extreme form of human deprivation is deeply inimical to the notion of human happiness and well-being. And it is very telling that the Millennium Development Goal targets have been met everywhere except in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Lyonchhen added that South Asia has achieved significant overall development and economic growth in recent decades. Some of our countries and citizens have become world leaders in fields as powerful and dynamic as Telecom and ICT, in Literature and the Arts, in cultural and spiritual practices, in the culinary traditions, tourism, and many other areas.
The SAARC summit in Kathmandu in November last year, noted that, despite natural and manmade disasters, South Asia had indeed come a long way in improving the lives of its citizens.
According to the 2014 World Bank Development Indicators, the proportion of people in the developing living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 43.1 percent in 1990 to 20.6 percent in 2010. Lyonchhen said that the MDGs aimed to halve extreme poverty and the post 2015 development agenda, through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is expected to reinforce efforts in eradicating poverty and ending hunger. These are welcome achievements but we cannot ignore the fact that the eradication of poverty is still a distant aspiration.
Lyonchhen further pointed out that the overall goal of the 11th FYP (2013-2018), is ‘Self-Reliance and Inclusive Green Socio-Economic Development’, with particular focus on reducing multidimensional poverty, income inequalities, malnutrition and growing urban poverty. In addition to the NRP and REAP, a new program targeting the poorest households has been initiated – the Targeted Household Poverty Programme (THPP). Under this programme, 3154 poorest households have been identified based on multidimensional poverty selection criteria and surveys are underway to re-validate the households, develop need-based interventions and establish a comprehensive poverty database in the country.
Secretary General of SAARC Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa, said that this meeting have taken place at a very crucial time when the whole communities is at the threshold of deciding the post 2015 development agenda. At our own regional level, we came to the final year implementation of the SAARC development goals and the observant of 2006 to 2015 as the SAARC decade poverty alleviation.
More than 10 years ago, the Heads of State or Government of the SAARC countries declared their commitment to the goal that even the poorest person in South Asia must have at least a good square “Dal Bhat” meal. This simple but profound South Asian expression of our true goal must continue to ring through our minds, through our development policies, and through SAARC’s journey to improve the lives of all South Asians, said the Lyonchhen.
Meanwhile, the outcome of the meeting, Lyonpo Namgay Dorji, said during the press conference that the meeting adopted on the progress made so far in the field of poverty alleviation in the respective countries and each member country had done a remarkable and commendable job. The second outcome Lyonpo added that the member country also very much well in the track in terms of the plans of the socioeconomic plan in line with the poverty alleviation.
The member countries also agree to review the SAARC development goals and plan of action on poverty alleviation in the light of post 2015. And another outcome of the meeting, Lyonpo added that, member also agree to use the forum to share best practices and innovative ideas on poverty alleviation those are under implementation of their respective countries.
Meanwhile, the Third SAARC Ministers on Poverty Alleviation Meeting preceded by Fifth Meeting on SAARC Secretaries on Poverty Alleviation was held in Kathmandu in 2013 and next meeting will be hosted in Bangladesh.