Pakistan proposes ‘urgent’ action plan to address poverty & hunger, especially for vulnerable people

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 06 (APP): Pakistan has called for an urgent “plan of action” to grapple with poverty and huger that have been made more acute by the current geo-political tensions, especially for the peoples facing war and occupation for decades.

“The consequence of current geo-political tensions is coup de grace for the poor: prices of food and energy have spiraled; food and related commodities, including fertilizers, are in short supply and unaffordable for the poorest people and the poorest countries – in Africa, Afghanistan and elsewhere,” Ambassador Munir Akram said at an event held at UN Headquarters in New York.

The event was jointly prepared by five UN agencies — FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO — to report on progress towards ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and to provide in depth analysis on key challenges for achieving this goal in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This year’s edition focuses on repurposing food and agricultural policies to make healthy diets more affordable.

While underscoring the need for a “plan of action,” Ambassador Akram said the international community must maintain access to food and end supply restrictions, export bans, hoarding, speculation and panic buying of food and fertilizers.

Supply chains should be kept fully operational, including for processing food and related logistics, he said, hoping that the UN Secretary-General and friends like Turkey will succeed in opening access not only to Ukraine wheat, but also to Russian wheat.

The Pakistani envoy said that support must be provided to enable food producers, especially smallholders in developing countries, to contribute to increases in local and national food production through adequate access to seeds, fertilizer and finance.

Ambassador Akram also called for moderating food prices, especially for inflation-hit developing countries, through appropriate international, national and market mechanisms.

In addition, he said, emergency grants and concessional financing must be provided to countries experiencing social and financial distress to secure adequate food and related supplies, proposing the creation of a Special Food Emergency Fund under UN auspices.

Longer-term action must start with promoting sustainable systems of food consumption and production; stopping waste and pollution; conserving water; promoting forestation, and respect biodiversity and the world’s natural habitats, the Pakistani envoy said.

“Let us work together to eradicate poverty and achieve zero hunger by 2030,” Ambassador Akram added.

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