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Covid-hit poor countries finding hard to recover losses unless vaccines ‘urgently’ provided: Amb. Akram

Munir Akram
Munir Akram

UNITED NATIONS, May 05 (APP):Harnessing the full potential of science and technology for the benefit of all people, everywhere, is the focus of a two-day virtual meeting convened by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which opened on Tuesday.

The Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum) aims to identify gaps and promote partnerships in efforts to achieve a greener world by 2030.

In his opening remarks to the forum, the ECOSOC President, Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram, underlined the “vital” role of science, technology and innovation to the survival and progress of mankind.

In this regard, he said that unless coronavirus vaccines are “urgently and equitably” made available, the developing countries will find it difficult to recover from the huge damage done to their economies by the pandemic.

“It is only science, technology and innovations that have provided a ray of hope in the form of the vaccine development and the continuity of business through digital technology,” Ambassador Akram said.

In the current crisis, he said that states have leveraged the power of science, technology and innovation to fight the devastation of the pandemic through new ways of coping, working, learning and accessing services and maintaining social connectivity.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized how the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of science, technology and innovation for human well-being and survival, as well as the need for greater global cooperation.

His statement was delivered by Maria Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Addressing the pandemic, the UN chief said not only was a vaccine developed in record time, but the crisis has also increased innovation in medicines and digital communications technologies.

At the same time, scientific discovery and collaborations have accelerated and new ways of delivering services have proliferated.

The Secretary-General said these advances hold promise for collective challenges beyond the pandemic, including in limiting climate disruption, reducing inequalities and “ending our war on nature”.

However, he noted that billions of people worldwide still remain largely excluded from the benefits of the information and technology revolution, and the pandemic has only exacerbated existing technology divides.

“It is essential that we work together — across borders, sectors and disciplines — to make science and technology work for everyone”, his statement said.

“Multi-stakeholder cooperation will continue to be the key, helping us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, address climate change, end the biodiversity and pollution crises and rise to our other common challenges.”

Speaking to a panel on ‘Innovations for Vulnerable Communities”, Pakistan’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Aamir Khan, congratulated the young innovators, including from Pakistan, for their contribution in responding to the massive human sufferings stemming from the COVID 19 pandemic.

“We think that it is through these innovative solutions for communities and people we can undo the catastrophic impacts of the pandemic and build resilience against future shocks,” he said. including by reaching out to vulnerable communities,” Aamir Khan said.

The Pakistan government, he said, leveraged innovations in making strides, harnessing domestic material and resources to produce personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers, testing kits and ventilators.

The STI Forum, now in its sixth year, is part of the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism, an online platform which supports countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by their 2030 deadline.

Through the platform, UN entities, Member States, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community and other stakeholders share information, experiences, best practices and policy advice.

Last June, the Secretary-General also launched a Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. Its eight objectives include achieving universal connectivity by 2030 as roughly half the world’s population, or three billion people, most of them women, do not have access to the Internet.

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