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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday said China is a role model for developing countries in terms of poverty alleviation as it has pulled 800 million people out of poverty over the past four decades.

Speaking virtually at the 20th Anniversary of Juncao Assistance and Sustainable Development Cooperation, the prime minister said that poverty alleviation and tackling climate change are his government’s key priorities.

He said that the present government launched a wide-ranging social safety programme, called “Ehsaas”, with the objective of uplifting marginalised people, eradicating poverty, and supporting vulnerable households.

Our “Ehsaas Emergency Cash” programme cushioned the most vulnerable part of our population from the economic shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic, the prime minister added.

He said that “our National Poverty Graduation Program, which empowers people by providing livelihood, creating assets and trainings, can play a vital role in collaboration with the Juncao technology.”

The prime minister said that as one of the most climate-vulnerable countries, Pakistan fully supports international efforts to combat this scourge.

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Under a well-articulated climate change and environmental agenda, consisting of a number of flagship green initiatives, we are progressing towards a “Clean and Green Pakistan”.

As part of one of the most ambitious efforts to expand and restore forests – the prime minister said that his government has already planted a billion trees as part of our 10 billion Tree Project.

“Our green initiatives resonate with the “United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030”, he expressed the hope that it will contribute to preventing, halting, and reversing the degradation of ecosystems.

The prime minister further stated that the world at large and the people of the Global South in particular, are grappling with multiple challenges, including climate change, poverty, and most of all, food insecurity.

With relentless efforts towards ending poverty in all its manifestations, extreme poverty had been steadily declining in the past two decades, he said, adding, however, the Covid-19 pandemic triggered an economic meltdown, which has slowed down global progress.

The extreme poverty rose in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years.

The prime minister said that achievement of food security, and improved nutrition, have become an even greater challenge for developing countries.

Sustainable ways of achieving economic recovery, growth and development are critical, during the pandemic, the premier added.

He said that the Juncao technology is one such way that helps small-scale farmers to develop low-cost, commercial-scale mushroom cultivation.

In addition, it also helps in combating desertification and can be used as food for livestock, as it is protein rich. China’s leadership role in climate change is also highly appreciated, he said, adding that he would commend President Xi’s vision of a “prosperous, clean and beautiful world” and initiative to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

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He said he was pleased to note that innovative Juncao technology – at the confluence of poverty alleviation and sustainable development – suits our society and economy.

Such innovative, affordable and eco-friendly technologies may help catalyse our progress towards achieving the first two Sustainable Development Goals: no poverty and zero hunger, he added.

He also congratulated China for hosting this event and Professor Lin Zhanxi for invention of Juncao technology.

He said that he would commend China for sharing this beneficial technology with over 100 countries, which has already benefited thousands of people across the continents over the past 20 years.

The prime minister concluded his address by expressing my strong resolve and commitment to international cooperation aimed at poverty alleviation and sustainable growth, and addressing climate change.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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