South-South cooperation imperative to combat pandemic challenges: Amb. Munir Akram
Ambassador Akram said universal access to social protection is critical, as is significant scaled-up investment on infrastructure to, among other things, combat climate change and build resilience.
UNITED NATIONS: Underscoring the importance of South-South Cooperation, the Group of 77 and China has called for ensuring that developing countries have the necessary fiscal space for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We reaffirm that South-South Cooperation is a strong, genuine, broad-based partnership grounded in the principle of solidarity and mutual respect and is a complement to, rather than a substitute for, North-South Cooperation,” Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, who is also the chairman of G77 and China, told at the UN Economic and Social Council’s annual Partnerships Forum on Wednesday.
The Pakistani envoy said all efforts to build forward better — driven by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — must recognize the challenges facing some countries in the face of the pandemic and its deep-felt impact.
Outlining ways to do so, he said access must be granted for vaccines and related health materials, necessary fiscal space for recovery must include easing debt and donors must fulfill official development assistance (ODA) commitments.
In addition, Ambassador Akram said universal access to social protection is critical, as is a significant scaled-up investment on infrastructure to, among other things, combat climate change and build resilience.
Additional commitments must be fulfilled to mobilize the requisite $100 billion annually for climate finance, he said. States in special situations — from landlockedness to least developed status — must be recognized for the unique challenges they face.
Bridging the digital gap is also essential, as is addressing the root causes of development challenges, the Pakistani envoy said.
Reaffirming that South-South Cooperation is a strong concept, he urged the Economic and Social Council to work towards addressing the outlined concerns and ensure equitable representation in its membership.
Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said that developing countries’ efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic are faltering amid ponderous debt burdens, “vaccine apartheid” and yawning chasms of inequality, adding that the wealth of a handful of billionaires is growing exponentially as the world continues to scramble.
“As we enter 2022, we are almost halfway to the Sustainable Development Goals deadline, yet COVID-19 is throwing into reverse so much of the progress we had been making,” she said.
Noting that the pandemic created an explosion in inequality which now poses an existential threat to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Ms. Bucher said that, even before COVID-19, 3.4 billion people were living on less than $5.50 per day while billionaires amassed incredible wealth.
The world’s 10 richest men saw their fortunes double since the pandemic began, while at the same time global poverty rose for the first time in decades, she added.