United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Lahore on
Monday evening along with his delegation, where he was received by
Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht and other senior government
officials at the Allama Iqbal International Airport.
In Lahore, the UN chief is to attend various functions and visit some historic places in the city, including the Shahi Qila and Badshahi Mosque.
A dinner will also be arranged in his honour at the Shahi Qila.
Guterres also paid a visit to the Gurdwara at Kartarpur.
Addressing the students of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), the UN chief stressed upon the role of students in the 21st century.
He added that the role of technology is now more important than ever, and that the youth must bring themselves at par with the latest trends.
“Keeping in mind the challenges of the future, the curriculum has to change. We have to take decisions keeping in mind the environmental issues as it is the biggest challenge that we are facing,” Guterres said.
The UN chief is currently on four-day visit to Pakistan, during which he held meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa besides attending a conference on Afghan refugees.
In his meeting with the prime minister, Khan apprised the UN chief about alleged Indian atrocities in Indian-administered Kashmir.
In the meeting with the army chief at the General Headquarters (GHQ), Guterres and Bakwa discussed the Afghan refugee problem and regional security.
Matters of mutual interest concerning Pakistan and the UN also came under discussion.
During the meeting, Guterres said the United Nations’ resolutions on Kashmir should be implemented.
On Monday the UN chief, while linking the need to merge local initiatives with global efforts to ward off the climate degradation, appreciated Pakistan and its people for taking some of the vital steps to reverse the effects of global warming.
Speaking on “Sustainable Development and Climate Change”, Guterres said that although climate change posed grave and urgent challenges to the world community, he is convinced that “they can be tackled through unity, which will make difference”.
He noted with regret the growing gap between nations with regards state policies on tackling climate change, and stressed upon bringing them in cohesion to generating global momentum.
“I am convinced that we can tackle the challenges through unity,” Guterres said.
On global warming’s impact on Pakistan, the UN secretary-general observed that about 80% of the water in the country is being utilised for irrigation, putting the natural resource under huge stress, and posing a challenge to national food security.
“Pakistan is not alone,” the UN chief observed, “as the same story is mirrored across the world.”
He added that the planet “is burning and some are adding to fuel the fire”.
Guterres also stressed upon the need to take drastic efforts to mitigate the hazardous effects of gas and smoke emissions.
The UN chief underlined that nations need “to move from grey economy to green economy”.
Guterres congratulated Pakistan for the successful launch of the Ten-billion Tsunami tree-planting project and the “Green Pakistan” movements.
He said that he was extremely pleased that use of plastic bags had been banned in Islamabad.
Guterres also appreciated Pakistan for hosting the largest number of refugees over the years, which had affected its economy and security.
Declaring his relations with the country as something of a “love affair”, he said that it is totally unfair the manner in which Pakistan had been portrayed in the past.
Guterres also recalled his past visits to Pakistan as commissioner for Afghan refugees and his interaction with “the noble and generous people of Pakistan”.
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