STATEMENT BY H.E. BILAWAL BHUTTO ZARDARI, FOREIGN MINISTER OF PAKISTAN, AT THE FORTY-SIXTH ANNUAL MEETING OF MINISTERS FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA (New York, 23 September 2022)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me first to thank all members of the Group of 77 & China for their trust and cooperation with Pakistan as the Group's Chair during the current year.
2. These are challenging times for the developing countries. We have suffered disproportionately from a series of shocks: the Covid-19 pandemic, rising commodity prices, the proliferation of conflicts, and the growing impacts of climate change. Our challenges have been exacerbated by a deficit in solidarity from our developed country "partners". As a consequence we now face the triple interlocking crises of food, fuel and finance.
3. To overcome these cascading crises, restore our economies and achieve the SDGs, we need to secure implementation of a series of emergency measures and simultaneously promote structural changes in the unequal and unjust international economic system.
4. The emergency actions must encompass the following:
One, mobilize urgent humanitarian, economic and financial support to the more than 50 developing countries which are in economic distress. This implies larger ODA and concessional finance. We welcome the proposal (of the Secretary-General) for a "SDG stimulus" of $500 billion to enable those countries which are in extreme economic distress to revive their economies and development objectives;
Two, provide emergency food supplies through the WFP to the 250 million people in food distress; further moderate prices by enlarging food production and supplies; and support small farmers access to seeds, fertilizer and finance;
Three, ensure the availability of energy, especially gas, for developing countries and explore mechanisms to reduce the financial burden of energy imports;
Four, mobilize the universal availability of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments; expand vaccine production, including through Intellectual Property waivers in order to end the Covid pandemic decisively;
Five, provide urgent and adequate assistance to countries suffering from the impacts of climate change.
5. As you know, Pakistan has been literally engulfed by massive flooding caused by global warming. Pakistan emits less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions; yet, it is now the epicenter of the impacts of climate change. One-third of the country - an area the size of the UK - is under water. Over 1400 people lost their lives and thousands more injured; thirty-three million have been affected and 6 million are absolutely destitute. Over 1.7 million homes, 12000 kilometers of roads, 375 bridges and 5 million acres of crops, have been destroyed. The total damage is estimated at over $30 billion, almost 10 % of Pakistan's GDP. The entire Pakistani nation - government, armed forces and common people - has rallied to provide relief to their compatriots in need.
6. We are most grateful to our friends, including members of the Group of 77 & China, for the generous support they have provided Pakistan in our relief efforts. We are confident that their support will be sustained as Pakistan moves to the daunting task of rehabilitation and reconstruction.
7. Beyond the emergency actions I have outlined, we need to promote global structures and policies which can end inequity and inequality, among and within nations, and enable all developing countries to achieve the SDGs and goals of the Paris Agreement. The systemic and structural reforms should encompass the following:
First, it is essential to reform international finance. The UN Secretary-General has rightly called the present international financial architecture "morally bankrupt". It must be aligned with the SDGs. This implies sustainable management of sovereign debt, larger concessional finance from MDBs (including through recapitalization and lowering "provisioning" ratios); issuance of additional SDRs; reducing borrowing costs for developing countries; and innovative financing;
Second, if we are to ensure a timely transition to a sustainable and dynamic global economy, we need to mobilize a $1 trillion annually as investment in sustainable infrastructure (energy, transport, housing, industry, agriculture). Besides access to public and private finance, the developing countries must prepare a pipeline of bankable projects, especially by "de-risking" investments through blended finance, guarantees, and SDG/Green Bonds etc. We should also consider setting up a UN Policy Board and utilize the UN Country Offices to promote sustainable infrastructure investment;
Third, we must fully and faithfully implement the climate change agenda in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. By COP27, we must secure fulfillment of the pledge by the industrial countries to provide $100 billion plus annually in climate finance; allocate half of this to climate adaptation; and establish a financing facility to compensate developing countries for "loss and damage" from climate impacts. Meanwhile, the developed countries must assume the burden of mitigation to reach net zero emissions well before 2050;
Fourth, the international trade system should be restructured to contribute to achievement of the SDGs through export led growth in the developing countries. To this end, preferential trade access for developing countries should be enlarged; they should be offered policy space for industrialization e.g. through waivers from the TRIPS and TRIMS Agreements, and unilateral trade protection and restrictions incompatible with the WTO Agreements should be speedily eliminated;
Fifth, the induction of a fair international tax regime, including digital trade, is essential to enable developing countries to mobilize larger domestic resources for development;
Sixth, we should negotiate an international technology agreement aligned with the SDGs. It should offer preferential access for developing countries to relevant advanced technologies and end discriminatory restrictions. It should also focus global research and development on scientific breakthroughs relevant to the 17 SDGs;
Seventh, we should seek an equitable international information technology regime which bridges the digital divide and enables the developing countries to "leap frog" into the global digital economy of the future.
8. I hope that these proposals for emergency actions and reform will be reflected in the Declaration we will adopt at this meeting and will be promoted by our Group during the current Session of the UN General Assembly.
9. Apart from the cooperation which we desire and expect from the developed countries, the members of the Group of 77 & China are also well placed to promote their development objectives through mutual South-South Cooperation. Several mechanisms for South-South Cooperation have been created within the UN system already. We welcome President Xi Jinping's Global Development Initiative (GDI).
10. A critical component for rapid development is connectivity projects that can enhance trade, investment and economic efficiency. China's Belt and Road Initiative is an outstanding example. Pakistan also looks forward to completion of the TAPI gas pipeline, the CASA 1000 electricity grid, the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan railroad, as well as the extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan. Once Pakistan-India relations are normalized, we can look forward to the integration of the emerging economies of South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia.
11. In order to advance our common objectives Pakistan will convene a Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 & China in December. The Conference's action-oriented decisions will assist the Group to secure tangible outcomes, especially at the SDG Summit to be convened at the UN in September 2023 and at the proposed Summit of the Future in 2024.
12. Our countries and peoples confront monumental challenges. We need to change the policies and structures that perpetuate inequality and poverty. We need a positive response from the North to the legitimate objectives and aspirations of the developing world. We will not secure either without mutual support, solidarity and unity. Let this - mutual support, solidarity and unity - become our guiding principles as we endeavor to build a better and prosperous tomorrow for our peoples.
I thank you.