Deva: Aid and trade are key to a better Pakistan

04-Dec-2014 @ 18:0

Nirj Deva Nirj Deva

No items found. No items found.

Improving and deepening relations between the EU and Pakistan were in the agenda during a visit to Lahore today by Nirj Deva, Conservative MEP for the South East of the England and Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament’s Development Committee.

“The announcement of an EU-funded-funded €630 million aid package to Pakistan marks a signal step towards tackling poverty in the region and presents a critical opportunity to alleviate the deprivation suffered by the most vulnerable elements in the country,” he said.

Following his visit to a sanitation plant providing clean water to 32,000 people Mr Deva, Conservative spokesman for international development, said: “Despite Lahore’s impressive record for clean water, we need to work together to ensure the basic right to clean water and sanitation for all. Across large parts of the country much of the water supply contains unsafe levels of arsenic, pollutants and faecal bacteria. Without a healthy population economic growth and social stability will remain outside our grasp.”

In a follow-up meeting with the Chief Minister of the Punjab, Mohammad Sarwar, Mr Deva went on to discuss the prevalent and evolving threat posed by glacial melting in the Himalayas,  an issue he addressed in the European Parliament report On Financing of Reinforcement of Dam Infrastructure in Developing Countries.

He said: “Due to the acceleration of glacial melting in the Himalayas, largely caused by the effects of black carbon (or soot) produced by inefficient coal burning stoves, the entire region finds itself increasingly at risk from natural calamities like flooding. There are 1.3 billion people live under a growing threat and we must act now if we are to prevent an imminent humanitarian disaster in one of the highest food producing areas in the world.”

Governor Sarwar went on to discuss Nirj Deva’s proposal for a cross border agency, established under the auspices of the EU and UN, to address the problems caused by trans-boundary water-related hazards and seek appropriate adaption and mitigation measures. The suggested meeting would be the first time that a common issue of environmental concern on water supply would bring together representatives from every country of the Hindu-Kush region.

Mr Deva's visit and the EU aid package following the granting of the EU's preferential tariff status GSP-Plus to  Pakistan earlier this year – a move that has seen 1 million more jobs across the country, fuelling €2 billion euros of increased exports from Pakistan to Europe. The grant is split into three areas of focus. It will address the fundamental building blocks to nation-building by injecting €340 million into rural development, €210 million into education and €97 million for good governance, human rights and the rule of law, aiming to realise concrete improvements to the lives of millions of people.

« Back