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Hailing from the city of Abbottabad, Abdul Rab was raised and educated in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. 
After graduating with a Bachelors in Education and Masters in Sociology with distinction, Abdul Rab joined the same university and taught Sociology to post graduate students. In mid 90’s, he changed his career path and joined the development sector in Pakistan. Since then he has been serving with different national and international NGOs and development foundations in varied management and advisory roles. His special areas of interest include community development, youth empowerment, poverty alleviation, education, and responsible citizenship. Earlier in his career, along with his job, he also served Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Pakistan Television, and print media. Abdul Rab, a resident of Qatar for over a decade, has extensive international exposure to development issues with a special focus on Asian countries and enjoys immense respect in the development and humanitarian sector for his detailed and result-oriented and reflective thinking. In an interview with Qatar Tribune, he spoke about the importance of human development and its impact on global development. Excerpts:
How are different issues impacting global development in general and in Asia and Africa in particular?
Global development issues are the outcomes of different factors which either are deeply rooted in the indigenous eco-systems or are influenced by the global policies and could have detrimental effect if not resolved with an inclusive, smart and effective strategy. These global issues are causing immense damage to the under-developed and developing countries in particular. However, they have a strong potential to reach out to the developed world as well if not appropriately tackled. Some of the recently identified issues include food insecurity, inequality, conflicts, growing disparities, increasing unemployment rate and access to quality healthcare, education and technology services.
How are different institutions dealing with these issues and is there any mechanism of coordination?
UN is a global coordinating body that facilitates the process of identifying global issues and setting development goals and sub goals in consultation with the concerned stakeholders and its member states. This process formally started in late 90s and the first global development agenda was set for the years between 2001-2015 under the brand name of Millennium Development Goals, popularly known as MDGs. The leaders of 189 countries signed the historic Millennium Declaration, in which they committed to achieving a set of eight measurable goals that range from halving extreme poverty and hunger to promoting gender equality and reducing child mortality by the end of 2015. This was historic in the sense that a consensus based development agenda was set globally for the first time. The MDGs were revolutionary in providing a common language to reach global agreement and the MDG fund helped in achieving progress towards some goals. However, this evolving process set a stage for future development agenda and based upon the continuous monitoring, positive results and evaluation, another set of 17 goals were set for another 15 years covering the period of 2015-2030 under the brand of Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. Over the past five years, with tremendous global efforts a lot has been achieved in the areas of poverty, hunger, health, education, environment and many more. However, COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain to the ongoing development efforts and resources especially putting extra pressure on the global economies.  Nevertheless, with the gigantic and timely efforts, we hope that this menace will be curbed without jeopardizing any efforts to achieve SDGs.
How has Qatar contributed towards achieving the SDGs?
Qatar has been in the forefront of the countries who have contributed significantly towards achieving the SDGs. Despite the regional challenges, Qatar has always supported global development efforts through collaborating with strategic partners and allocating resources as a responsible state. The State of Qatar, both on the international level and national level, has made valuable contributions through different instruments and platforms. On the national front, the state has made remarkable achievements in dealing with the issues of food security, developing an effective social protection system, sustainable economic development, moving towards environment friendly solutions, etc. Qatar’s vision 2030 is well aligned with the global develop agenda and I am confident that this beautiful country will achieve all its set out targets quite comfortably.
How has your personal experience of living in Qatar been?
Qatar has been my second home since 2011. This great country has provided me with lots of professional opportunities to grow. Working with my Qatari brothers and sisters has been an enlightening experience and I found them very well mannered, mature and with a forward thinking professionals. I am really impressed with the visionary leadership who have put tremendous amount of efforts into human development, its focus on education, investing in youth, its love for sports and culture, impressive infrastructure development and contribution to the peace building efforts. I see this country moving forward and wish it a prosperous future under the young, visionary and dynamic leadership. I look forward to the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022 and hope it will set new standards of excellence for the sporting events to follow internationally.
What is your philosophy of global development?
I believe that investing in human development is the key to sustainable development. Allah Almighty has given us this great planet to live in harmony with nature, while respecting diversity. It’s unfortunate that we are facing global challenges of poverty, hunger, climate crisis, inequalities and social disparities despite having excelled technologically, politically and economically. With such advancements, seeing the dismantling of basic social institutions in some societies is painful.  An inclusive approach towards development must be adopted where voiceless grassroots, youth and women are engaged and empowered through different mechanisms to take lead even at the smaller level and small scale as this is a critical step towards community development. Community development should be considered a basic unit of development and it should be scaled upwards to larger administrative units. Development cannot be sustained if only has a top to down approach. Development process can only be complemented through two ends of development i.e. top down and bottom up. The developed countries, while supporting under developed and developing countries, must recognize the fact that each developing country has its unique political, economic, social and historical context. Not all of them can adopt imposed political structures and predefined or ready-made development solutions.  Underdeveloped countries need proactive support in the transfer of technology, investing in human development and recognising their strengths.
Unless all stakeholders from the global to regional and from national to grass root level are not interacting, listening, respecting and recognising each other’s role, achieving a real and sustainable development will remain a dream. International bodies, in west and east, regional bodies, national governments, INGOs and NNGOs and Foundation, Think Tanks and fair representations of the grass root organisations should jointly set development agendas and execution mechanism. Any global agreement on adopting a policy to invest more in human and social development will pave a way to allocate less for war economies, allowing more resources to be spent on peace, food security, human development and sustainable development.
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