LAHORE: The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide Rs 22.8 million to the Forman Christian College (FCC) to support and promote policy research in Pakistan, USAID Mission Director for Punjab Jeffrey N Bakken said on Monday while inaugurating the FCC’s Centre for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG).
During the ceremony, USAID-funded FIRMS Project Chief of Party Donald Hart and CPPG Director Dr Shafqat Saeed also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop Vision 2035 for the city of Lahore. Addressing the participants, Jeffrey Bakken emphasised US support for improving the policy and decision-making processes in Punjab and ensuring a better future for the city of Lahore.
“The establishment of the CPPG at the FC College is a step in the right direction for creating favourable conditions for research, policy formulation and development in Pakistan,” he remarked. He said that the collaboration between the CPPG and USAID’s FIRMS Project was a futuristic venture, hoping that “Lahore Vision 2035 will be a successful joint venture demonstrating strong synergy towards a sustainable future for the city of Lahore”. He added, “My experience in Lahore is great. It is a spectacular city, especially due to its historical places, and its people are great.”
USAID’s FIRMS Project Chief of Party Donald Hart, introducing the “Lahore Vision 2035 project,” said that it would focus on urban reform policy, development and economic growth activity in the city. “This collaboration would provide a framework on policy, institutional and regulatory reforms, which would help the policymakers in the Punjab to establish systems that are efficient and conducive to economic advancement,” he maintained.
CPPG Director Dr Shafqat Saeed said that the centre would be a consolidated resource to provide students, researchers and policymakers with literature, data and training facilities to pave the way for informed decision making at all levels. He acknowledged that the USAID had worked a lot in Pakistan, but most of its efforts had gone unnoticed. Members of the USAID Mission and faculty members of the Centre for Public Policy and Governance attended the ceremony.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Hart affirmed that under the initiative, the USAID Firms Project will support Forman Christian College in spearheading the process of developing a composite document, “Vision 2035” for Lahore. A Core Working Group (CWG), constituting of representatives from public sector institutions, academia, business groups, and environmentalists, will be put in place to oversee and guide the preparation of thematic position papers.
This set of position papers on the 1) governance and management of Lahore, 2) transport planning in Lahore; 3) water supply, sewerage and waste management, 4) real estate markets in Lahore, including land use, building control and zoning in Lahore; and 5) trade friendliness, will codify a body of research and initiate a discourse and public consultations on issues stalling Lahore’s urban development.
FCC’s Centre for Public Policy and Governance will be focusing on building broad based consensus among key stakeholders, including environmentalists, artists, intellectuals, urban planners, land developers, municipal service providers and members of trade associations, on various proposals, which will be instrumental in developing acceptance on a vision and proposed strategy for urban sector policy reforms.
“We are very optimistic that this initiative will lead a high quality research and analysis of issues related to urban development, planning and management in the city of Lahore,” Hart said.The initiative resonates with USAID’s global mandate to promote pro-development policies and governance structures, bolstering combined economic growth of the country and the region