NA: (National Parliamentary Meet on Malnutrition concludes)

ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq has said that development challenges such as the ‘fight against malnutrition’ were very complex which asked for an integrated approach of all the stakeholders likewise the Parliament, government, experts from development sector including media and civil society.

He said that during the past two years, the Parliamentary Task Force had been working actively to chalk out a national parliamentary development agenda.

He expressed these views while addressing the concluding ceremony of two day’s National Parliamentary Meet on Malnutrition (NPMM) organized by National Parliamentary Task Force on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which concluded here on Thursday at Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS).

He said that today’s firm resolve and commitment is just the starting points. “This opportunity must lead all of us to collaborate our efforts and collectively devise a roadmap for upcoming years to confront the development challenges specially child and maternal malnutrition” the Speaker said.

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq expressed his hope that the Provincial and Legislative Assemblies would follow the suit and replicate the same within their respective assemblies.

In the concluding speech, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq presented concrete recommendations composed of pragmatic approach for monitoring and evaluation components, as a way forward to curtail the growing challenge of malnutrition among mother and child in Pakistan. The recommendations were compiled after rigorous brain-storming sessions and deliberations followed by group activities in the conference.

Recommendations agreed at the meeting read out by Speaker NA which called for declaration of national emergency on malnutrition. Establishment of an autonomous and empowered National Commission on Malnutrition of ‘Mother and Child’ was also suggested. Lastly, media was directed to dedicate at least 10% of airtime to create awareness regarding this grave concern.

Earlier Convener SDGs Task Force Punjab Ms. Azma Bukhari chaired a session focusing on ‘End poverty everywhere in all its forms’ and came up with recommendations to eradicate poverty by improving the quality of life. Another session led by Convener SDGs Task Force Sindh Ms. Mahtab Akbar Rashdi contemplated on ‘End hunger, achieve food security, improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’ suggesting long term policy formulation for ensuring food security.

It was followed by session on ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’ chaired by Convener SDGs Task Force Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mr. Arif Yousaf that discussed compilation of existing legislation on malnutrition in other legislatures.

The last break out session chaired by member National Parliamentary Task Force for SDGs Romina Khursheed reflected on ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ which recommended an increased budget allocation to mother and child health and nutrition.

The meet has decided to complete a cycle of malnutrition meets in all provincial and legislative assemblies beginning from first meet scheduled in Lahore after a couple of months.