February 09, 2022: Pakistan's UN Ambassador Munir Akram, in his capacity as the Group of 77 Chairman, has called for mobilization of resources to enable the pandemic-hit developing countries to eradicate poverty and hunger and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Unprecedented times call for an unprecedented response from the international community based on the principles of responsibility sharing and global solidarity,” he said on Tuesday at the 60th session of Commission on Social Development, one of the eight commissions established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to assist it in carrying its work.
“To save the present and succeeding generations from the scourge of poverty and hunger, the international community should build a global architecture based on the developmental needs of peoples – a global system in which no one is left behind,” he added.
Opening the session, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Liu Zhenmin, also argued that the pandemic had highlighted the critical role of social policies.
“The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated inequalities, and multiple forms of deprivation”, Liu said, remembering that many countries reacted by instituting emergency measures.
“One key lesson is the importance of universal access to social protection, to enhance economic and food security, in times of crisis”, the under-secretary-general said
He said that from December 2020 to May 2021, total spending on social protection rose by almost 270 per cent, to $2.9 trillion.
In his remarks, Ambassador Akram pointed to a complex triad of challenges facing the world — the coronavirus pandemic, the economic downturn in the developing countries and the existential threat of climate catastrophe, and said these factors had reversed progress towards the 2030 Agenda and implementation of the SDGs.
The developing countries, he said, need financial support of at least $3.3 to $4.5 trillion per year to achieve SDGs within the given timeline, and for this, resources must be mobilized from all possible sources — fulfillment of the 0.7 percent ODA (official development assistance) target; redistribution of the $650 billion new SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) ; and concessional finance from the multilateral institutions and development banks.
The G77 chairman said the developing countries need financial resources which could be provided by the international community through multilateral mechanisms, including International Financial Institutions in the forms of grants, and not loans which will over-burden the developing countries for inclusive recovery from the pandemic.
He also urged International Financial Institutions to support global efforts towards sustainable development, food security and debt long-term sustainability
Ambassador Akram said an investment of $1.5 trillion was needed annually in sustainable infrastructure in the developing countries to recover from the pandemic and transition to environmentally sustainable economies, adding that the UN must play a leading role in this regard.
Education can help workers to be more resilient to shocks and can create sustainable employment opportunities, he said, stressing the need for recovering from learning losses during COVID-19, as distance learning is not an option for at least 80 million students in low- and middle-income countries. Investment in early childhood education and care contributes significantly to reducing child poverty and breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty.
The G77 chairman called for making “fairer and equitable” the international structures of finance, production and trade, including agricultural trade.
The international community must demonstrate solidarity in line with the principle of burden and responsibility sharing during humanitarian agencies, he said.
Ambassador Akram also called for ensuring global and equitable access to safe, timely and effective Covid-19 vaccines at affordable prices.