Pakistan urges ‘effective’ response to Food, Fuel & Finance challenges confronting poorest nations

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 19 (APP): Pakistan has called for building a “coherent and effective” response to the immediate challenges of food, fuel and finance that have adversely impacted the poorest countries and people, extending inequality among and within nations.

Participating in a discussion on the objective of preserving multilateralism, Ambassador Munir Akram said that the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and conflicts were the “greatest challenges” the world was confronted with.

“It is time to utilize the international mechanisms of the UN system to build a coherent and effective response to the immediate challenges of Food, Fuel and Finance and revive the hopes for the realization of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals),” the Pakistan envoy told a high-level segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Monday.

Elaborating on the impact of those challenges on poor countries, he said poverty has grown – for the first time in decades; millions of jobs lost; inflation is rampant; the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda are receding from reach, adding that sixty countries are close to economic collapse.

“We are facing an existential economic emergency in the global South,” Ambassador Akram said.

The UN, under the leadership of the Secretary-General – and of ECOSOC – did make valiant efforts, during the pandemic and after, to mobilize an effective international response, citing some debt relief and funding through IFIs (International Financial Institutions).

“Yet,” Ambassador Akram said, “international solidarity has proved lacking.”
Noting that vaccine inequity had prolonged the pandemic, he said the developing countries were not offered the financial space and liquidity to recover from the economic impacts of the Covid crisis. They have become the principal victims of the supply chain shocks and of runaway inflation, as their plight has been exacerbated by the food and fuel disruptions of the Ukraine war and related restrictions.

“Now,” he added, “they will also pay for the rise in global interest rates.”
Insufficient political attention has been paid to building effective coherent actions to provide better living standards to all through international cooperation, the Pakistani envoy said.

“Multilateralism cannot be ‘proofed’ for the future if it is unable to respond to the current existential crises confronting the global South,” Ambassador Akram said, pointing out that the actions needed to meet the situation had been identified in the declarations adopted at the just-concluded High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

“What we need is international solidarity to implement the objectives and commitments which ECOSOC has adopted in these important Declarations,” he added.