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S. Asian meet on human development

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, MAY 18. A four-day conference of South Asian countries on `Legacy of Mahbub-ul-Haq - Human Development' will begin here on Friday. Organised by the Institute of Social Sciences, the conference will stress the need to defuse conflicts and tensions in the region by creating public opinion in favour of developmental issues.

The conference has been designed to encourage intensive interaction on various aspects of human development. ``It will seek to constitute a mechanism to monitor, report and evaluate the human development policies of the South Asian Governments as well as to encourage civil society initiatives in setting the development agenda,'' said Dr. George Matthew, director of the Institute of Social Sciences, at a press conference here today. The conference will also come up with a `Delhi Declaration' setting out its objective and strategies.

The contribution of Mahbub-ul-Haq, an eminent economist and social scientist of Pakistan, provides the context to reiterate the urgent need for human development in South Asia which is by any social indicator poor and backward compared to most regions in the world since 80 per cent of the world's poor live in this part, Dr. Matthew said.

The themes to be discussed at the conference will be Governance, Education, Gender Equality, Poverty, Sustainable Livelihood, Health and Role of Media.

Over 250 scholars, opinion-makers and development NGOs from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and India are likely to participate in the conference which will be formally inaugurated by the former Prime Minister, Mr. I. K. Gujral, on Saturday. The Defence Minister, Mr. George Fernandes, will deliver the keynote address.

Other eminent participants are Mrs. Khadija Haq, wife of the late Mahbub-ul-Haq who is also the president of Mahbub-ul- Haq Centre for Human Development in Pakistan; Ms Nafis Sadik, Under Secretary-General, UNFPA; Mr. I.A.Rahman, Director of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission, and Ms Brenda McSweeney, resident representative of UNDP.

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