UNITED NATIONS, Apr 26 (APP):The President of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram, Monday called for global solidarity and a focus on inclusive, sustainable, and resilient recovery from the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has triggered worst economic crisis while inflicting unimaginable human sufferings.
“The pandemic has laid bare the inherent inequalities and vulnerabilities of our global systems,” he said in a virtual address to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), which is headquartered in Bangkok.
Noting that the development policies pursued by industrialized countries were responsible for environment degradation, loss of biodiversity and soaring inequalities within and among countries, Ambassador Akram said that in order to build back better, “We need to holistically reorient our development strategies to address systemic challenges in our global systems.”
At the cusp of the crisis, he recalled that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a five-point action agenda to recover better from the pandemic, including equitable and affordable supply of coronavirus vaccine to developing countries; debt relief; a new general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and redistribution of existing unutilized ones; return of stolen assets and combating illicit financial flows; and mobilizing 100 billion dollars annually by developed countries for climate action.
Ambassador Akram said that he was glad that a consensus had evolved at the UN ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development on these action points.
“The universal access to safe, early, effective, and affordable, vaccines is the only way to end the pandemic, support economic recovery and realize the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said, adding, “Vaccines for COVID-19 should be declared a global public good.
“Without universal vaccination, the virus could roam, mutate, and return.”
The ECOSOC chief pointed out that a recent special meeting of the ECOSOC on “A Vaccine for All” had outlined the path towards a coordinated global effort to ensure equitable access to the vaccine, based on the principles of solidarity, equity and sharing.
Fiscal needs of developing countries could be met by providing debt relief measures as well as by significantly expanding concessional finances for developing countries, he said. The recommendations contained in the report of the FACTI Panel to thwart trillions of dollars of illicit financial flows need serious consideration by the members of the UNESCAP.
While investments in sustainable infrastructure needed to be accelerated, they declined by $50 billion last year, while money was available, Ambassador Akram said.
Bridging the digital divide, he said, was an important catalyst to allow developing countries to leapfrog into development domain.
The ECOSOC chief called for addressing the structural barriers that hamper economic growth of developing countries that include inequitable trade, taxation and technology regimes as well as unfair investment treaties.
“It is only by addressing these issues we can build back better and enable the developing countries to unshackle the potential of their people, majority of which is living in the ESCAP region.”