ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is fully committed to achieve the development goals set within the SAARC ambit, aiming at improving living standards of the people and reducing absolute poverty, Dr Rashid Amjad, Chief Economist, Planning and Development, said here Saturday. Addressing the concluding session of the two-day workshop on SAARC Development Goals, the Chief Economist said that Pakistan was confident to achieving the SAARC Development Goals (SDGs). "Even in these difficult financial circumstances, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani had given clear instruction that public sector expenditures in the social sectors, especially health and education would be fully protected," he stated. The two-day Consultative Workshop on SAARC Development Goals (SDGs) and livelihood; Opportunities for Eradicating of Hunger and Poverty and Launching of SAARC Regional Poverty Profile, was attended by government, development partners, NGOs and academia. The participants of the workshop after intensive consultations identified benchmarks along with targets for SDGs indicators i.e. livelihood, health, education and environment for the next five years as per requirement of the decisions of 14th and 15th SAARC summits to develop country specific targets and benchmarks in this regard. The team leaders of the respective groups made presentations discussing challenges and modalities as to how to achieve benchmarks and recommended targets. Dr Amjad said that the SDGs targets for 2012 have been aligned with the MDGs and have been incorporated in the manifesto of the present govt, as the present govt is determined to reduce suffering of millions of people living in absolute poverty in Pakistan. The govt has taken bold initiatives to restore macroeconomic stability and reduce poverty and vulnerability through direct and indirect support. Allocations for social sector including education, health, population welfare, water supply and sanitation have increased manifold to create and develop social assets of the poor, he concluded.