UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called for immediate steps to address the dire situations around the globe left behind by the crises of covid, climate and conflict, warning that the world’s unequal economic growth was creating the super-rich and the super-poor within an exploitative system.
“We live in an age of enlarging inequality,” Ambassador Munir Akram, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the UN General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial), which began its general debate on Monday.
“The world economy is growing; but growing unequally; creating the super-rich and the super-poor; with a structure that exploits not only the people but also rampantly exploits and despoils the planet,” he added.
The Pakistani envoy said the international community already has the broad blueprint to redress inequality and poverty that are underpinned by the principles of the UN Charter and more specifically the principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibility.’ Today, he said, the development gains of decades on reducing poverty and hunger have been reversed by COVID, Climate and Conflict. “Over 800 million live in extreme poverty; 2.4 billion people face food insecurity. 59 countries are in debt distress,”
Ambassador Akram said, adding that the same time the earth burns; climate disasters are engulfing the climate vulnerable, as illustrated by the epic floods in Pakistan last year. Noting the emergency reforms recommended by last month’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on: the SDG Stimulus; ‹re-channelling SDRS (Special Drawing Rights); ‹Debt; ‹reform of the international financial architecture; enlarged lending by the multilateral development banks, the Pakistani envoy called for a mechanism to monitor the implementation of these important commitments.
Quick impacts, he said, can come from: expanding concessional and grant lending by the multilateral, regional and national development banks, including to climate impacted middle income countries, re-channeling the $400 billion un-utilized SDRs to finance the SDGs and Climate Goals, and providing debt relief to the 59 debt distressed countries through a speedy multilateral process, including extension of debt payments suspension, suspension of IMF surcharges; and debt for SDG/Climate swaps.
Ambassador Akram also called for the reform of the international financial architecture to reflect equity, vulnerabilities and the specific needs of developing countries, saying the new International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) allocations of SDRs should respond to the liquidity needs of countries.
“We also need a new sovereign debt architecture independent of both creditors and debtors, with agreed criteria and frameworks for fair and inclusive debt suspension, reduction and liquidation.” Pakistan, he said, will work with the African Group on its proposal to secure approval for the conclusion of an international tax treaty negotiated within the United Nations.
Consultations will also be held to secure implementation of the 14 recommendations of UN’s FACTI Panel to reform, redesign and revitalize the global architecture, so it can effectively foster financial integrity for sustainable development, he said Ambassador Akram urged the committee to propel the upcoming UN climate change conference, known as COP28, to secure the fulfillment of the commitments of industrial countries to provide $100 billion plus in climate finance; allocate at least half to adaptation; operationalize the Loss & Damage Fund; and accelerate their emission reductions sufficiently to keep the 1.5 degree centigrade goal alive. Pointing out that transition to a global ˜greeneconomy will require investment of at least $1 trillion annually in sustainable infrastructure, he urged the UN should establish a mechanism facilitating investment in sustainable infrastructure in developing countries.