STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR MUNIR AKRAM, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PAKISTAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE 60TH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ON THE THEME: "INCLUSIVE AND RESILIENT RECOVERY FROM COVID-19 FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS, WELL-BEING AND DIGNITY FOR ALL: ERADICATING POVERTY AND HUNGER IN ALL ITS FORMS AND DIMENSIONS TO ACHIEVE THE 2030 AGENDA" (New York, 7 February 2022)
I would like to express our sincere felicitations to you and members of the Bureau on your election. We are confident that the deliberations of the Commission at this session will strengthen international community's response to eradicate poverty and hunger.
2. The world is engulfed in a complex triad of challenges - the pandemic, the economic downturn in the developing countries and the existential threat of climate catastrophe. The intersection of all three challenges has reversed progress towards the 2030 Agenda and implementation of the SDGs.
3. Poverty and hunger are intertwined. Poverty is the biggest driver of food insecurity. Millions of people worldwide are dying each year from poverty and malnutrition. As the COVID-19 crisis continues to cause a heavy toll on human lives and livelihoods, the pandemic's effect on millions of people who are already suffering from hunger and malnutrition is devastating.
4. The pandemic has affected the developing countries disproportionately. During the pandemic, whereas 85 per cent of the population in high-income countries was effectively covered by at least one social protection benefit, only 13.4 per cent of the people in low-income countries had the same benefit.
5. Both because of meager financial resources and weak health infrastructures, millions in our countries have suffered enormously. Severe food crisis, abject poverty and famine conditions loom large, making it impossible to have an inclusive recovery from the pandemic for the world. For a resilient and inclusive global recovery from COVID-19, a massive effort needs to be mounted. This is only possible through the accelerated efforts to achieve 2030 Agenda. Progress towards elimination of hunger and poverty is only possible if we can turn our words into concrete actions:
First, we must enable the developing countries to eradicate the poverty and hunger and achieve the SDGs. The developing countries need financial support of at least $3.3 to $ 4.5 trillion per year to achieve SDGs within the given timeline. For this, resources must be mobilized from all possible sources: fulfillment of the 0.7 percent ODA target; redistribution of the $650 billion new SDRs; and concessional finance from the multilateral institutions and development banks.
Second, for an inclusive recovery from the pandemic, universalization of promotion of universal access to social protection should be a priority. For this, developing countries need financial resources which may be provided by the international community through multilateral mechanisms, including International Financial Institutions in the forms of grants, and not loans which will over-burden the developing countries.
Third, developing countries require fiscal space to provide social protection and universal health coverage to their populations. We encourage The austerity programmes and schedule of debt payments imposed by International Financial Institutions have constrained the developing countries capacity to save millions of people in their countries from multi-dimensional poverty and starvation. There is an imperative need for debt restructuring and review of austerity programmes.to support global efforts towards sustainable development, food security and debt long-term sustainability.
Fourth, the intersection of poverty, food insecurity and climate change environmental degradation calls for a sustainable livelihood approach. This can be best realized by reaffirming the commitment of achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions - economic, social and environmental - in a balanced and integrated manner through, inter alia, the creation of employment opportunities for all and strengthened climate adaption and mitigation capacities.
Fifth, an investment of $1.5 trillion is needed annually in sustainable infrastructure in the developing countries to recover from the pandemic and transition to environmentally sustainable economies. The UN can and must play a leading role in mobilizing this investment.
Sixth, equal access to quality education and lifelong learning opportunities including vocational and skills training, can help workers to be more resilient to shocks and can create sustainable employment opportunities. It is also important to recover learning losses during COVID-19, as distance learning is not an option for at least 80 million students in low- and middle-income countries. This reality reflects the urgent need to close the digital divide as a matter of priority. Investment in early childhood education and care contributes significantly to reducing child poverty and breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty.
Seventh, the international structures of finance, production and trade, including agricultural trade, must be made fairer and equitable.
Eighth, in humanitarian emergencies, vulnerable groups including minorities, migrants and refugees, face multiple challenges, including poverty and hunger. mMillions of people are facingface multidimensional poverty and hungerstarvation in conflict zones. The international community must demonstrate solidarity in line with the principle of burden and responsibility sharing.
Ninth, we stress the importance of ensuring global and equitable access to safe, timely and effective Covid-19 vaccines at affordable prices. They should be made global public goods to ensure resilient and inclusive recovery from the pandemic and build momentum for sustainable social development.
Finally, the Group reaffirms its abiding commitment to fulfilling the goals and objectives in the World Summit for Social Development, and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly, especially poverty eradication, promotion of full and productive employment, and the fostering of social inclusion.
6. Unprecedented times call for an unprecedented response from the international community based on the principles of responsibility sharing and global solidarity. There is an imperative need for North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, to support national efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger, and to realize the commitments made in Copenhagen Declaration as well as those contained in the 2030 Agenda. To save the present and succeeding generations from the scourge of poverty and hunger, the international community should build a global architecture based on the developmental needs of peoples - a global system in which no one is left behind.
I thank you.