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Pakistan assumes chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China

Pakistan assumes chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addresses a virtual handover ceremony of the chairmanship to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan assumed chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China (G-77), a group of more than 130 developing countries, for the year 2022 on Friday.

While virtually delivering a statement at the United Nations during the handover ceremony for the Chair of the G77 and China, Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that developing countries needed financial support to recover from coronavirus pandemic and achieve the sustainable development goals.

FM Qureshi said, “a herculean global effort will be needed to enable the developing countries to recover and move back to the path of achieving the SDGs within the targeted timelines.”

“The developing countries need the financial support of at least $ 4.3 trillion to do so.”

He said, “today, the world is facing a triple crisis — the Covid-19 pandemic; the related economic downturn; and the threat posed by climate change.”

“We are still battling a vicious virus which has taken a massive human, economic, social and psychological toll. Our Group had warned that if all the world’s people, including those in the developing countries, were not rapidly vaccinated, the virus would roam and return.

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“Due to vaccine inequity, this is what we are witnessing. It is why we are meeting virtually today. The lesson must be learnt. Vaccine production and universal distribution, and reinforced health systems, are the best response to the mutating COVID-19 virus and to ending this pandemic.”

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi along with other leaders participated in a virtual handover ceremony of the chairmanship to Pakistan—Image: APP

He observed that the pandemic had affected the developing countries disproportionately. Both because of weak health systems and meagre resources, millions in our countries had suffered enormously and mostly in silence, he noted.

He said, “apart from lost lives, over 150 million have been pushed into extreme poverty. More than two score developing countries are in debt distress. A few have already defaulted. Over twenty countries are food insecure. Famine stalks some, especially in conflict zones in Africa and in Afghanistan.”

The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 had been set back by at least a decade, he said adding these resources must be mobilized from all possible sources: debt restructuring; fulfilment of the 0.7 per cent ODA target; redistribution of the $650 billion new SDRs; and larger concessional finance from the IMF and the multilateral development banks.

“Developing countries cannot recover if their budgets are further constrained by austerity packages, imposed increases in energy prices, and weakening of their currencies. No country must be prevented from serving its people, he added.

He underlined the need to address the structural and underlying causes of underdevelopment and growing inequality.

Read more: Pakistan seeks meaningful partnerships with EU nations including Spain: FM Qureshi

He congratulated the Foreign Minister of Guinea, Dr Morissanda Kouyate, on successfully leading the Group of 77 and China during the last year.

He also thanked the 134 members of the Group for reposing their trust in Pakistan to chair the Group of 77 and China in these challenging times.

The minister said during the past forty-five years, the Group had made significant contributions towards advancing the economic and social objectives of the developing countries.

“The group had conceived many of the innovative ideas and approaches for international economic cooperation, such as the 0.7 per cent ODA target; special and preferential treatment for developing countries in trade; and duty-free market access for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).”

From the first UNCTAD Conference through the Rio Summit, the adoption of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, to the recent Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, the Group of 77 and China, and its members, have been the propellants of progress in international development negotiations, he added.

“In the current trying times, it is essential for our Group to retain cohesion and unity in its collective endeavours to ensure and promote prosperity for our peoples in conditions of equity and equality.

He said, “the massive financial injections – of over $17 trillion – in the richer countries have revived economic growth, most developing countries are still in the grip of the most severe recession in a century.“

Despite the G-20’s debt suspension and expanded financing from development institutions, the developing world had access to less than $100 billion in additional money to stimulate their economies, he added.

Qureshi said with demand reviving in the richer countries, and disrupted production and supply chains, prices of all commodities and essential goods had skyrocketed, adding the burden of inflation on to the challenges facing the developing countries and especially the most vulnerable sections of their population.

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