Experts urge cities to address urban stresses to safeguard development gains at the IBA Virtual Conference

“Eco-system is not conducive for companies to work optimally; utilities corridors are the need of the hour” – Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, K-Electric

Empower the youth, more than helping them” – Co-Founder, Balochistan Youth Action Committee

Karachi (Muhammad Yasir) The first International Virtual Conference on Economics and Sustainable Development organized by the School of Economics and Social Sciences at the IBA Karachi, in collaboration with the Centre for Business and Economic Research, successfully concluded with an interactive session on ‘Contribution of Youth in Social Development’ and a doctoral symposium.

Earlier, a panel discussion on ‘Urban Resilience and Impact on Utility Services’ featuring Dr. Javed Younas, Professor of Economics at American University of Sharjah, Dr. Noman Ahmed, Dean Faculty of Architecture and Management Sciences, NED University of Engineering and Technology and Ms. Sadia Dada, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, K-Electric.

Dr. Younas opined that our government services departments are ill-equipped to provide sufficient services to the people of Karachi. He held the authorities responsible for lack of provision of services resulting in the city’s dysfunction in the event of natural disasters.

Ms. Dada informed the audience that 75% of Karachi today does not experience load-shedding, adding that the illegal encroachment in the city is leading to safety impairment. She said that the eco-system is not conducive for companies to work optimally and that utility corridors are the need of the hour.

Dr. Ahmed recommended that the physical existence of service delivery corridors should be notified to the public and a comprehensive plan needs to be put in place to create awareness about the rights of the consumers and utilities service providers.

The final day of the 3-day conference began with an online session on ‘Contribution of Youth in Social Development’, featuring Mr. Sikander Bizenjo, Co-Founder, Balochistan Youth Action Committee. Mr. Bizenjo spoke at length about the role that the youth of Pakistan has played in uplifting the society and social development.

Addressing the audience, Mr. Bizenjo shared his journey of how his team helped people in far-flung areas of Balochistan when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. “We have a lot of inequalities in Pakistan; not every individual has the same exposure, the same level of interest and education. One thing that distinguishes our country is that 60% of the population is under the age of 30 and that is a huge potential for our country,” he added.  

The session was followed by Doctoral Symposium Presentations, where the participants showcased their research and discussed the goals, methods, and results of their research. A prize distribution ceremony was held at the closing ceremony, where Symposium Awards were given to successful participants.

Notable speakers including Dr. Lant Pritchett, University of Oxford, Mr. Yasuyuki Sawada, Chief Economist, Asian Development Bank, Mr. Knut Ostby, Resident Representative, UNDP Pakistan, Dr. Miftah Ismail, former Federal Minister for Finance, and other eminent scholars and experts shared their expert opinion in various sessions held over the three days of the conference.