ISLAMABAD: Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) adopted various resolutions with regard to the challenging issues of environment, poverty eradication, women empowerment and education in Asian countries, here, on Wednesday These resolutions were adopted during the concluding session of the two-day meeting of the Standing Committee of APA on Economic and Sustainable Development. The meeting was attended by APA members from many Asian countries, who had tabled a resolution on climate; calling for an appropriate international response in order to accelerate the reduction of global Greenhouses Gases Emissions (GGE). The resolution also underlined the need to develop a comprehensive and long-term strategy to combat desertification and marine life deterioration, hence, improving the living conditions of the people living in arid, semi-arid and coastal areas. Furthermore, the resolution on poverty eradication noted that each country must assume primary responsibility for its own development and also asserted that the role of national policies and strategies cannot be overemphasised in the poverty eradication. “It is very important to combat international terrorism, women and children abasement, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, human trafficking, sea piracy and transitional crimes,” it elaborated. The resolution of “Education for All” also emphasised on ensuring efforts to enrol the out-of-school children and equip them with the education. In addition, the resolution of “Women Empowerment” also called for the collective efforts to ensure gender equality, in order to create an enabling environment for them to play their positive role in nation building. These resolutions will be discussed in the meeting of APA scheduled to be held at Cambodia by December 2016. During the inaugural session of the event, National Assembly Speaker, AyazSadiq, also asserted that many Asian countries are faced with various challenges related to health, education, poverty, economy, energy, water and human rights and the role of APA is vital to cope with such challenges. He also said that an exchange of parliamentary delegations must be conducted on a regular basis in order to enhance people-to-people relations.He also emphasised on the need to facilitate traders to promote business activity in the region as well as taking several steps to ensure economic equality. Senate Chairman, Mian Raza Rabbani, also spoke on the occasion and remarked that the success of APA meetings would also help achieve development targets in the Asian countries. “Asian countries are in an effort to bring economic stability andpeace which can only be achieved through unity”, he opined, further adding, “What I believe is that the future of Asia lies within Asia and we have to stop depending on West.” He was also of the view, “The sufferings and dreams of Asian countries are collective and interlinked. Asian dream is sinking and swimming together so wehave to become the strength of each other.” He congratulated Cambodia for assuming the presidentship of APA and also hoped that Cambodia would play its active role in achieving APA targets. APA Deputy Secretary-General on Economic and Sustainable Development, Ali Khurram, also briefed the participants about the objectives of this important forum. APA Secretary General also presented on the implementation of resolutions on “Financial Affairs: Ensuring Efforts for Economic Growth, “The Role of APA Parliaments to Adopt Legislation in Supporting Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals” and “Asian Integrated Energy Market” on the first day. The body also adopted Pakistan’s resolution on “Water and Sanitation in Asia for All”, which was tabled by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan and Member National Assembly Dr Ghazi Ghulab Jamal at the concluding session. Talking to media sources, Senator Mushahid said that the water and sanitation situation was alarming in Punjab and the government had decided to spend around 300 million dollars on the water and sanitation sector this year. He said, “The richest donor Bill Gates always said that the biggest challenge is of water scarcity in Asian countries as its availability can only improve the sanitation.” More than 600 million people only in India were facing water shortage while overall one billion in Asia could face a severe shortage by the year 2050, he added. The resolution, he said, had stressed upon the need for the Asian governments to focus on national policies on water and sanitation issues and contribute towards international efforts in resolving the issues. It also stated that the pressing issue of water scarcity was threatening a large population around the globe. By the year 2025, according to the experts, nearly two-third of the world’s population will be living under water-stressed conditions, which included roughly 1.8 billion people who will face absolute water scarcity. Water scarcity and poor water quality will drastically increase disease risks, undermine economic growth, limit food production and become an increasing threat to peace and security, the resolution said. The forecasts reveal that a billion more people could be `water stressed’ in the next 35 years compared to today in Asia. Similarly, sanitation in Asia requires more than just toilets as over 1.7 billion people lack access to sanitation in Asia and the Pacific and millions practice open defecation.