Islamabad: While appreciating the corporate social responsibility initiatives of the China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) and other Chinese companies in Gwadar, experts at a panel discussion stressed the importance of effective communication on development and ‘positive engagement’ with local communities over the long term. – long-term success of these projects.
They insisted that all stakeholders should come up with a mechanism for an integrated socio-economic development strategy and ensure the inclusion of the hopes and aspirations of the residents of the strategic port city vis-à-vis the China Economic Corridor. -Pakistan of several billion dollars. infrastructure project.
The event titled ‘CSR Initiatives in Gwadar (The Gateway to CPEC)’ was co-organized by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad and the University of Gwadar in collaboration with the COPHC, Gwadar Port Authority (GPA ) and Gwadar Development Authority (GDA).
GPA Chairman Naseer Khan Kashani said that population development should take priority over infrastructure improvement.
He said providing clean water and electricity to Gwadar was the authorities’ top priority.
“A 1.2 million gallon capacity water desalination plant will be operational in Gwadar within six to eight months,” he said.
Naseer Khan Kashani also said that the recently inaugurated modern Pakistani-Chinese Vocational and Technical Training Institute would provide three years of training for local youths, which was a great contribution from China, the country’s proven friend.
“The Chinese authorities also recently provided 3,000 solar panels to the poorest of the poor in Gwadar to provide them with electricity,” he said.
In the opening speech, COPHC President Zhang Baozhong highlighted the experiences of his seven-year stay in Gwadar.
“We are aware that Gwadar deserves faster development to live up to the expectations of the local population. There’s no denying he’s grown a lot in the last seven years,” he said.
He said there were three reasons for Gwadar’s promising prospects: the cooperation of the Gwadar people, their vast resources and their strategic location.
“The people of Gwadar deserve respect and development according to their legitimate demands,” he said.
COPHC’s Shahzad Sultan said his organization sends 20 students to China every year on scholarships, has run a primary school in Gwadar for five years, and is in the process of establishing a secondary school in the area.
He also said that more than 6,000 units of solar panels had been distributed among the residents of Gwadar in addition to the planting of around 500,000 trees.
IPS President Khalid Rahman highlighted the concept of CSR for improving people’s lives.
“We need to have solutions-oriented recommendations, not problem-oriented ones,” he said, adding that positive thinking and improved governance will bring a huge change in the lives of the people of Gwadar. CSR activities are not about spending a share of your profits, it is about creating an environment that does not harm society in any way,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Gwadar, Prof. Dr. Abdul Razzaq Sabir appreciated the initiatives of IPS to identify the challenges in the region.
He said giving back to society was the greatest responsibility of the corporate sector.
“Working on human resource development should be the highest priority of government and private sector. As Gwadar grows after port development, it is important to learn from China’s experience and expertise through a student exchange program. We need to train our young people to become productive parts of Gwadar,” he said.
The VC said that CSR must be defined from the local perspective and that local issues could be taken into account to solve people’s real and fundamental problems and problems through CSR initiatives.
He said local community and civil society engagement could result in better planning, tailored solutions and better implementation with local wisdom and participation.
Director of the Riphah Public Policy Institute, Dr. Rashid Aftab, said residents’ reservations must be addressed through sharing of evidence with all relevant stakeholders.
Jawad Akhtar Khokhar from the Ministry of Planning and Development highlighted Gwadar’s development projects, especially CPEC.
He said three projects worth $314 million have so far been completed and they include the Gwadar smart port city master plan, physical infrastructure for phase I of the port and the Gwadar Free Zone and the Pakistan-China Technical and Vocational Institute.