ISLAMABAD: Expressing commitment to creating a framework of cooperation for long-term energy security, the Developing Eight (D-8) countries agreed on Thursday to broaden collaboration in research, development and production of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
In a historic ‘Islamabad Declaration’ adopted at the conclusion of the D-8 Summit, leaders of the Muslim states stressed the importance of effectively harnessing sources of energy for economic growth and development and called for special emphasis on investment in the sector through public-private partnership.
The conference held at Aiwan-i-Sadr was attended by the presidents of Iran, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan, the prime minister of Turkey, vice-president of Egypt and deputy prime minister of Malaysia.
President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt who was to attend the summit bowed out at the last moment because of his involvement in efforts for arranging a truce in Gaza.
The summit also adopted the organisation’s charter and D-8 Global Vision.
However, the documents were based on pledges and commitment and no significant decisions were announced.
The leaders stressed the importance of collaborative efforts on capacity building, transfer of technology, exploration of new energy resources, development of alternative fuels and renewable sources of energy, as well as research, development and production of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
They welcomed Pakistan’s offer to host the first energy forum to evolve a framework of cooperation.
They pledged to work jointly to confront common challenges faced by the D-8 countries, especially achieving food security, mitigating the impact of natural disasters and countering all forms of extremism which undermine economic progress and adversely affect people’s livelihood.
In an apparent reference to the unilateral sanctions against Iran, the D-8 leaders noted with concern the consequences of the coercive economic measures on the livelihood of people.
They committed to creating a level playing field for all segments of the society, in particular for the youth to attain modern skills to become participants in the emerging knowledge-based economy and the information society. They emphasised the need for scientific and technological cooperation and the development of joint industrial projects and sharing of engineering and management knowledge, with the D-8 centres of excellence at the forefront of the collaborative effort.
Recognising the emerging role of Islamic banking and finance in the Muslim societies, including the D-8 community, they urged member states to assist in its development as a catalyst for expansion in financial and trade activities.
They welcomed the ratification of the agreement on simplification of visa procedures for businessmen of the D-8 member states by six members, ratification of multilateral agreement on administrative assistance in customs matters by seven members and the entry into force of the two agreements. They expressed the hope that these agreements would give impetus to the promotion of intra D-8 trade.
They also welcomed the ratification of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) by six members and the efforts towards its implementation and asked all the countries which had not yet ratified the three agreements to do it as soon as possible.
They expressed serious concern over the growing challenges to food security at global, regional and national levels and asked member states to develop strategies for promoting sustainable agricultural growth.
The key objectives of the D-8 Charter include promotion and enhancement of joint efforts towards achieving socio-economic development through effective utilisation of potentials of D-8 countries, poverty alleviation and improvement of the quality of life in the countries, strengthening economic, social, technical and scientific ties and promoting private sector activity.
The next D-8 summit will be hosted by Turkey in 2014.
President Asif Ali Zardari, addressing the inaugural session of the summit, proposed establishment of trade and development banks in D-8 countries and increased barter trade and currency swap agreements among them.
He underlined the need for better cooperation and called upon the member states to work sincerely for finding development solutions for their one billion people with focus on encouraging free flow of goods, people and finances.
He said the D-8 Charter would cement the joint undertakings, the Global Vision would be a giant step towards achieving long-term objectives and the Islamabad Declaration would build upon the roadmap.
He urged the member states to endorse once again the core values of D-8; that include peace, dialogue and cooperation, justice, equality and moderation, democracy, rule of law and harmony, and peaceful co-existence and inclusion.
He said most of D-8 countries had ratified the PTA and there was need to operationalise it without delay.