August 28, 2004 - Rajab 11, 1425 Hijri
Shabbir Ahmed Mir
Updated on 2004-08-28 17:01:36
GILGIT, Pakistan : Aug 28 (PNS) - A non-government organizations have formed a mega forum involving various stockholders of the region to encourage public participation and promote awareness for participatory planning and integrated programming in the Northern Areas.
With the active participation of more than 0 multi-stakeholders and after a hectic debate spanning over two days, the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) which is a non-profit organization working with rural communities in the region since 80s and Karakorum Area Development Organization (KADO), a local community development organization formed a supra forum "Hunza Development Forum" or HDF to develop a common vision of development through an open, transparent, accountable mechanism and to ensure that people and local institutions are the ultimate drivers of the development process, said a Press Release issued here Friday.
Speaking at the ceremony, Izhar Hunzai, the General Manager AKRSP remarked that there was a need for some measures of integration and coherence among various development efforts and sectors to understand what the communities expect of local governance, economic and social development in order to respond to the emerging challenges. Hunzai added "the role of AKRSP as a development catalyst is to adjust its policy according to the changing needs of the area. In the absence of a mechanism to gather the overall views and aspirations of people and to set a common goal and an agreed agenda, the HDF will ensure more inclusive debate on the development issues of Hunza".
Javed Iqbal, General Manager, KADO presented action plan that proposed follow-up on the recommendation of the forum through a task force, which would lobby for the institutionalization of the regulatory framework besides many more swift interventions. "The idea is we bring not just one group of like minded people but all the different players on one platform from all walks of life to talk about the kind of future we want for our children here, in this area." said Iqbal.
Some groups who worked on the action plan in the meeting stressed for the growing income and elimination of social disparities within the society. They proposed to focused on the new challenges, the need for effective policy formulation and implementation which would strengthen local political, civil, government and representative institutions, developing local markets, resources and expertise.
Keeping in line with the objectives of the forum, fifteen thematic groups held discussions on Good Governance, Gender, Poverty and Social Safety Nets, Volunteerism and Local Philanthropy, Human Rights, Border Trade, Energy Development and Distribution, Tourism, Enterprise, Investments and Employment, Culture and Environment, Urbanization, Quality Education, the ICT requirements of the area, Youth Development and Agricultural Diversification. It was also discussed that the forum would also help evolve a common vision of development through an open, transparent, inclusive and accountable mechanism and to ensure that people and local institutions are the ultimate drivers of the development process.
The main aim of HDF is to deliver an innovative participatory framework of multi-stake holders dialogue. Through this forum, the AKRSP plans to promote dialogue and partnerships among all stakeholders, by establishing and fostering an institutionalized system of 'Development Fora" at valley, district and regional level, replicating this model across the entire development canvas of Northern Areas.