PR No. 210 Islamabad: April 24, 2017

Mr. Mohammad Younus Dagha, Federal Secretary Commerce, Government of Pakistan attended a High Level Dialogue on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration for Enhancing Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok from 20-21 April, 2017. Organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the high-level dialogue brought together senior officials and experts from the region to identify challenges and propose recommendations for enhancing and fostering Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration (RECI) in Asia-Pacific to further reduce poverty, and advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Opening the two-day meeting, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar emphasized that ESCAP has a long standing mandate for promoting RECI in Asia and the Pacific.

Keeping in view the vast experience and firsthand knowledge of Mr. Dagha on regional connectivity, he was selected as moderator in second session of the dialogue to discuss ‘seamless connectivity in transport, energy and information and communication technology’. The session involved speakers from different countries like Minister of Information and Communication, Bhutan, Head of Renewable Energy Division, Mongolia, Head of Inland Transport Division, Tajikistan, Advisor, Regional Economic Cooperation, Asia Region, World Bank and Director, Economic research Institute, Japan.

Besides moderating the session, Mr. Dagha’s suggestions were sought on strengthening regional energy connectivity in the light of Pakistan’s experience in seeking energy shortage solutions through regional cooperation as seen in CASA1000 for power transmission and TAPI, and IPI for gas pipelines. Mr Dagha emphasised the untapped benefits and opportunities of regional connectivity and noted that great potential exists in trade and investment in the region. He further explained that countries in the region have identified energy as the key driver for economic growth and for the reduction of poverty, but its full potential can only be unlocked by regional cooperation and integration in all fields. Mr Dagha also underlined that climate change can be mitigated effectively only when countries that are potential producers of renewable energy are connected to countries with high energy demand which is currently satisfied mainly by fossil fuels. In creating interdependence and increasing sustainability of the energy sector among countries of the region, there is also a need to have an innovative regional cooperation mechanism that involves different stakeholders in reaching consensus on removing regulatory and financing barriers combined with an institutional mechanism to balance gains and costs among different stakeholders.