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Prime Minister Imran Khan participated in the 10th Summit of the Developing Eight Organization for Economic Cooperation (D-8), hosted by the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, in virtual format today. The theme of the Summit was “Partnership for a Transformative World: Harnessing the Power of Youth and Technology.”

Heads of States/Governments from D-8 Member States — including Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey — participated in the Summit.

Addressing the Summit, Prime Minister Imran Khan remarked that the world was at a defining moment due to inter-connectedness and the socio-economic and environmental vulnerabilities created by this inter-connectedness. Highlighting the health and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister stated that peculiar socio-economic impacts had disproportionately harmed the developing nations.

The Prime Minister highlighted that the youthful population of D-8 countries was a key asset. He underlined the need to create opportunities for the youth through harnessing technology, promoting innovation, investing in youth education, skills and training. He highlighted various initiatives and programmes undertaken by the Government of Pakistan aimed at empowering the youth like Kamyab Jawan, Hunarmand Pakistan, Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, and Digital Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that the rapid advancement in science and technology had triggered exponential changes in the world and information and technology breakthroughs were fast transforming science fiction of yesterday into today’s reality.

The Prime Minister called on the D-8 to conceive projects that harness technology for supply-side improvements, and keep pace with logistics and global supply chains, brainstorm ideas to insulate its members from disruptions in labour markets due to technology and innovations, and call for COVID vaccine to be treated as a global public good, and ensure its equitable, affordable, enhanced production and timely supply to save lives.

As part of endeavours to realise the vision of D-8 in these testing times, the Prime Minister proposed a five-pronged roadmap:

(i) To address COVID-19 related financial challenges faced by developing countries, supporting his (already enunciated) five-point plan encompassing debt relief for developing countries; creation and redistribution of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs); mobilization of climate finance; eliminating illicit financial flows; and return of stolen assets to developing countries;

(ii) Taking concrete actions to achieve the target of expanding intra D-8 trade from currently around US$100 billion to US$ 500 billion by 2030 through measures like simplification of border procedures, enhancing institutional linkages, and operationalizing new initiatives like the D-8 Payment Card;

(iii) Developing a “Youth Engagement Strategy” focused on promoting cultural, educational, scientific and entrepreneurial exchanges and linkages between educational institutions;

(iv) Intensifying cooperation for technological development by promoting knowledge-based economies, research and development, and rapid digitalization; and

(v) Making D-8 more relevant to the lives of D-8 citizens by promoting food security, enhancing cooperation in health, holding joint sports events and helping each other during natural disasters.

The Summit adopted the Dhaka Declaration 2021 and the Decennial Roadmap 2020-2030. The Dhaka Declaration, inter alia, applauded the prominent role of the Government of Pakistan in strongly advocating priority redressal of the peculiar challenges faced by developing countries due to COVID-19 pandemic and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for a “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” for developing countries.

The Summit approved pre-feasibility studies of four project proposals under D-8 Project Support Fund, including two from Pakistan related to safe drinking water and climate adaptations in agriculture.

The Summit was preceded by the 43rd Session of the D-8 Commission on 5-6 April 2021 and the 19th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers on 7 April 2021.

D-8 was established in 1997 to promote development cooperation among the eight Member States. The Organization is headquartered in Istanbul. The Summit is the highest organ of the D-8 and is convened biennially. Pakistan hosted the 8th D-8 Summit in Islamabad.



8 April 2021

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