Ambassador Munir Akram addressing the ECOSOC Summit
Ambassador Munir Akram addressing the ECOSOC Summit

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 03 (APP): The President of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, Thursday called for a “bold” response by the world community to the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed 1.5 million live worldwide, disrupted economies, and left tens of millions of people unemployed in rich and poor countries.

“Confronted by this monumental crisis, the world’s response must be equally bold,” he told the UN General Assembly’s Special Session in response to COVID-19, while underlining the need for concrete action.

“Confronted by this monumental crisis, the world’s response must be equally bold”

Nearly 100 world leaders and several dozen ministers are slated to speak at the two-day session which opened on Thursday on the response to COVID-19 and the best path to recovery from the pandemic.

In his remarks, Ambassador Akram indicated that Prime Minister Imran Khan, who will address the special session later today, will propose an emergency plan for financial support to developing countries, as, he said they do not have the fiscal space to finance a recovery from the pandemic.

The ECOSOC chief described global economic statistics as “devastating”, with economic contraction of over 5%; over 60 developing countries needing urgent financial help; five countries having defaulted on debt payments; twenty countries facing acute food scarcity; over 300 million jobs lost, and a 100 million people pushed back into extreme poverty.

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In this context, he underscored the need for ensuring that a vaccine against the virus becomes available to everyone, everywhere, rich or poor, on an equitable basis, and those at the most at risk – health workers, the ill and infirm – must receive priority.

“Advance Purchase Agreements (APAs) for the virus must not be allowed to undermine our collective commitment to equity in vaccine distribution,” the ECOSOC chief said, adding that a collective global commitment to the COVAX and C-TAP facility was indispensable.

“Governments must also commit to transparency in all matters related to the production, distribution and fair pricing of the vaccine,” Ambassador Akram added.

“Governments must also commit to transparency in all matters related to the production, distribution and fair pricing of the vaccine”

Each government, he said, should be encouraged to respond to the peoples’ needs, referring in this regard to the IMF chief’s advice that countries should spend as much as needed to keep their people alive and their economies afloat.

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“If there is an economic collapse or a humanitarian disaster in countries, it will halt a global economic recovery and achievement of the SDGs will turn into a chimera,” the ECOSOC chief said.

In deploying resources, he said, government and international institutions must put people first and no one left behind.

Investments, he said, will be vital to lift millions out of poverty and build resilience in societies.

Science and technology must be deployed in “building back better”, and the digitalization of economies aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate objectives.

“I am confident that this Special Session will contribute significantly to the achievement of these important objectives.”

In conclusion, Ambassador Akram said, “This is a time for the expression of International solidarity. This is a time for us to turn our nice words into concrete and specific action.”