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(2013-11-11)

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Mr. President,

I thank you and the ASEM Partners for their contribution to make this session fruitful.

I extend felicitations to India for hosting ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and for inspiring innovative ideas and a vigorous way forward.

In the 21st Century, both the developed countries and the developing economies are facing interlinked challenges and opportunities. The developed world is focused on sustained and eco-friendly economic growth; the developing world is striving to promote productive capacity employment and decent work. The common denominator for both the regions, however, is inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels.

There is no gainsaying the fact that business-as-usual is no longer an option. We need to improve, if not reset, our economic models to achieve these goals.

As a country which participated actively in reaching the Rio+20 agreement, Pakistan strongly believes that ASEM can build upon the momentum of Rio+20 agenda towards sustained development.

Also, this forum should be able to provide substantive support to the UN System and its mechanisms engaged in the implementation of Rio+20 outcome and evolution of sustainable goals for the next 25 years.

The developed economies can help by sharing their experience and technology and through capacity building of institutions. The developing economies have to leap-frog their efforts to achieve greater success in the future.

Mr. President,

One of the most important development challenge of the future is that of the employment, specially the employment of younger workers.

Two-third of Pakistan’s population of 185 million, for example, is under the age of 30. The labour force grows at 3% annually. Like other developing ASEM partners, we face the formidable task of creating jobs and decent working conditions in the face of multiple global crises.

We are pursuing reforms which include: improved governance; better economic management; investing in human capital; bringing the poor and vulnerable into the mainstream of development and; focusing on empowerment of women, minorities, youth and the disabled.

Our aim is to create 1.5 million new jobs a year through accelerated growth from 4 at present to over 6% in the next 5 years. But our efforts will not go very far, if the global environment does not become more favourable.

The global economy is affected by uncertainty resulting from recessionary and turbulent trends in regional and international markets. The ongoing world financial and economic crisis, and its impact on developing countries underscores the importance of a collective response to address systemic fragilities and imbalances inherent in the international financial and trading systems to improve liquidity for developing countries and to generate the sustained growth and employment.

Mr. President,

I am confident that the high level dialogue at ASEM will help to harmonize our collective response towards reforming the international financial system. The concept of proposing areas of cooperation to translate the success of ASEM into concrete progress is admirable.

We propose creation of a mechanism to gauge progress made through such cooperation to ensure the upward trajectory.

At a time when the world economy is facing multiple crises, ASEM must play a robust role between Asia and Europe in the economic, social and related fields. The forum must ensure that the coherence and strength of policy responses is commensurate with the complexity and magnitude of multiple challenges we face.

I thank you all!

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Islamabad
November 11, 2013

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