The Standing Committee of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) on Economic and Sustainable Development Affairs met in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, from July 26 to 28. During the inaugural session, Raza Rabbani, Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan and the third most powerful official in the country, asked members to work together in eradicating poverty in Asia as a whole.
The APA replaced the Association of Asian Parliaments for Peace in 2006. The organization consists of members elected by their national legislatures and seeks to encourage cooperation among Asian countries.
In total, 14 countries sent delegations to the APA meeting in Islamabad. Among the ranks were representatives from Turkey, Russia, Iran, Thailand and Indonesia.
On the final day of the meeting, the Committee adopted a resolution on poverty eradication which aims to improve living conditions for the poor and encourage their participation in making policy. An amendment proposed by the Iranian delegation urges the removal of gender wage discrimination as part of this goal.
Tjatur Sapto Edy, a member of the energy and natural mineral resources commission in the Indonesian People’s Representative Council, expressed support for the resolution. “We acknowledge that poverty continues to be the biggest challenge of our time,” he said.
The Indonesian delegation also asked member countries to cooperate in promoting peace throughout the continent and formulate national strategies which contribute to the goal of ending poverty in Asia. Lastly, the country called for more investment in renewable energy.
The meeting also featured a resolution on providing clean water and sanitation for all, one of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An approved amendment from Palestine and Lebanon would see the formation of a committee to research and combat water scarcity.
The APA meeting in Islamabad demonstrated the resolve of Asian countries in bringing about an end to poverty in Asia and promoting regional development. As Rabbani noted at the conference, they “are in an effort to bring economic stability and peace, which can only be achieved through unity.”
– Philip Katz