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Camp: Indore, 19 February 2017 : The South Asian Speakers’ Summit on Achieving Sustainable Development Goals, which was inaugurated by the Lok Sabha Speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajan on 18 February 2017, concluded today. At the Valedictory Session, Smt. Mahajan observed that the achievement of SDGs will address most of the problems that are holding back peace and prosperity in South Asia. With less than 4 per cent of the world’s land surface area, it is host to about 25 per cent of world’s population but this population is young and is our human resource potential. She underlined that large number of people are still living in extreme poverty which continues to be major challenge for the policy makers. As such, the countries of the region share the collective responsibility to find solutions to issues that are affecting them. In this backdrop, she felt that the discussions at two day Session have been remarkable and fruitful experience. Smt. Mahajan said that on one hand, there is a need for development, while on the other, we must protect environment. An imbalance between the two can trigger massive negative consequences and affect climate. She added that engaging with SDGs and working out a viable roadmap for effectively accomplishing the targets within the stipulated period was the consensus that delegates arrived at, in Dhaka, in January 2016. She said that taking the threads forward here in Indore, the Summit has at length discussed ways in which Parliaments can ensure that adequate financial and other resources accompany implementation of national and regional SDG strategies. She hoped that tapping on the opportunities of cooperation among Parliaments and between Parliaments will definitely prove to be a golden path in our collective journey towards achieving the SDGs. Lok Sabha Speaker observed that gender inequality is a sensitive challenge and women have right to live with dignity and equality. She emphasized that women must enjoy equal access to education, economic resources and employment and expressed happiness that the Summit deliberated threadbare the issue of gender inequality as a barrier in the way of achieving SDGs. She added that there was a convergence of views that gender parity or better gender balance can act as a critical factor for sustainable development. Smt. Mahajan further said that the countries of the region are victims of frequent natural disasters, like cyclones, earth quakes, floods, etc. and as such, climate change has emerged as a major challenge not only for the people of this region but for the entire world. The need of the hour is to look for meticulous, integrated and networked solutions through regional cooperation. She informed that a regional consultation on SDG Indicators and South Asia would be hosted by India later this year. This meeting of experts and officials of the region would focus on the outcomes of the global process led by the United Nations. Smt. Mahajan expressed her gratitude to the visiting Presiding Officers of South Asian countries and members of their Delegation for their proactive and purposive participation in the Summit. She thanked Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan for extending all the support in organizing the Summit. She also extended a word of praise for Speaker of Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Shri Seetasaran Sharma for having spared time to be in Indore for the Summit. She also praised the efforts of officers of Lok Sabha Secretariat and Madhya Pradesh Government for working hard in making the Summit a great success. Mr. Saber Chowdhury, President, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said that the Summit has been rich in substance and inspiring in terms ofaspirations which are not only national but regional and global aswell. The centrality of the people lies in SDGs and they need a new approach and new partnership. He also felt that the Parliamentarians are not substitute of the Government but together they can engage the functionaries in Government for the better implementation of SDGs. Earlier, the Summit resumed its deliberations on the theme Dealing Effectively with the Challenge of Climate Change and Natural Disasters: Opportunities for Regional Parliamentary Cooperation in its Working Session today. Participating in the Session, Professor Santosh Kumar, Executive Director, SAARC Disaster Management Centre, said that climate change is a serious concern and the risk to the South Asian region is very high. He cautioned that after Gujarat and Nepal earthquake disasters, it has become all the more important to have disaster preparedness in place to reduce the impacts to our cities and countries. Dr Balakrishna Pisupati, Vice Chancellor, Trans Disciplinary University, Bengaluru, described five key points of Paris Agreement and suggested that there is need for national action by each country by legislating new climate laws, reassessment of climate policies and mainstreaming climate action. Shri Sachin Chaturvedi, Director-General, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), summed up the discussions held during the Summit. The Summit ended with the adoption of the Indore Declaration.



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