July 16, 2021| Press Releases|
Mr. President of the Economic & Social Council,
Ambassador Munir Akram,
Ladies & Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to speak at the 75th Anniversary of the Economic and Social Council, the third Charter organ of the United Nations.
2.The UN Charter has prescribed equal priority to peace and development. One cannot be realized without the other. The Economic and Social Council is mandated, under the Charter, to promote “better standards of life in larger freedoms” through international economic cooperation.
3.Today, ECOSOC’s role has become even more critical than it was 75 years ago. The world is facing an unprecedented triple crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst economic recession in a century, and a looming climate and environmental calamity.
4.The global response to this triple crisis must be simultaneous and synergetic. This coherent and coordinated response can be best promoted within the framework of the Economic and Social Council which sits at the apex of the UN system of Specialized Agencies, autonomous organizations and subsidiary bodies.
Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen,
5.Pakistan confronted the COVID crisis just as my Government had succeeded in achieving macro-economic stability in our balance of payments and fiscal accounts. Our Prime Minister opted a policy of selective, or smart, lockdowns to save lives without disrupting livelihoods. This was accompanied by the largest economic relief and social protection programme in Pakistan’s history to ensure that the poorest and vulnerable segments of our population did not suffer and small businesses did not collapse. Employment was generated through support for construction, agriculture and reforestation programmes.
6.We have been fortunate in containing COVID-19 casualties, although restrictions remain in place to prevent a fourth wave from deadlier versions of the virus. Our economy is back on a healthy growth trajectory. And, Pakistan’s social protection programme, Ehsaas (Compassion), is recognized as a global model.
7.My government believes that, given the massive rise in poverty and vulnerability caused by the pandemic, it is essential to incorporate a sustained social protection programme as an essential component of the response to the triple crisis we are facing. Pakistan, Finland and Costa Rica, with the cooperation of the World Bank and UN DESA, have initiated a proposal for the universal adoption of social protection in development strategies.
8.We need an agreed global strategy to address the triple crisis. Agenda 2030, the SDGs, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreements and the Biodiversity Convention provide the blueprint for such an agreed global strategy.
9.Pakistan’s Prime Minister outlined the main elements of such a strategy on 13 July in his address to the High-Level Political Forum: early and universal access to the COVID-19 vaccines; adequate development finance; scaled up investment in SDG and climate relevant sectors, especially in sustainable infrastructure, and rectification of the deficiencies and inequities in the global financial, tax, trade and technology structures, including an end to illicit financial flows out of developing countries.
10.Massive investment in sustainable infrastructure – energy, transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing – is indispensable to achieve the SDGs and the climate objectives.
11.Pakistan’s infrastructure development strategy is designed to take advantage of our large pool of young people and our geo-economic location at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia and China.
12. To leverage private sector investments for sustainable development, Pakistan is launching its first ever “SDG Investor Map”. The Map will identify Investment Opportunity Areas and business models that could advance private investment for the achievement of SDGs in Pakistan.
13.With the welcome support and cooperation of our partner, China, Pakistan is forging ahead with implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative. The first phase of CPEC is nearly complete and the second phase, envisaging the creation of several Special Economic Zones, has been initiated. These SEZs are open to participation of third countries.
14.Pakistan greatly appreciates the intention of several fraternal and friendly countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and others, to invest in Pakistan’s economy. We have noted with interest the decision of the G7 countries to launch the “Build Back Better World” infrastructure initiative which can complement existing initiatives.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
15.Pakistan has a vital interest in a peaceful, stable, united and prosperous Afghanistan. This would enable Pakistan and Afghanistan to serve as a bridge connecting Central Asia and the Arabia Sea – and beyond. There are numerous “shovel-ready” projects awaiting peace in Afghanistan, such as the TAPI gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, the CASA-1000 electricity grid from Tajikistan and the railway connecting Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
16.A just solution is essential for the Jammu and Kashmir dispute on the basis of the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Positive steps reversing the cause of current tensions can open the way for dialogue and trade.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
17.It is said that war is conceived “in the minds of men”. Likewise, the desire for peace and cooperation can also emerge from the minds of men and women who, if inspired by reason, and aware of the momentous global challenges confronting humanity, cannot but opt for international cooperation rather than rivalry and confrontation. The debates and discussions of the Economic and Social Council are an essential vehicle to promote such recognition of the imperative of cooperation to enable humanity build a shared future of peace and prosperity.
I thank you.
Last modified: July 16, 2021
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