Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, at the General Debate of ECOSOC 2014 Session (New York – 8 July 2014)

Mr. President,

We thank you for your firm, effective and inspiring leadership of the ECOSOC. The focused and interactive discussions at the High-Level Political Forum are a testament to your organizational and leadership abilities. The HLPF is assuming its distinctive persona on your watch.

We align ourselves with the statement made by Bolivia on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

The Millennium Development Goals Report launched yesterday by the Secretary General demonstrates that the glass is more than half full. In some cases, the success is spectacular. Global poverty has been halved. A majority of children in developing countries are going to school; and the disparity in the enrollment of girls and boys has been reduced.

These achievements build the international community’s confidence in pursuing its comprehensive, global development agenda, with clearly set out goals and time-bound targets. They also indicate that we need to do much, much more to accelerate progress. The momentum towards achieving the unmet goals needs to be sustained. By the time the MDGs process winds down, we will have a blueprint for the post-2015 development agenda.

We realize that progress so far has been uneven and unequal within and among nations. Since 2000, the international economic milieu has changed dramatically. Contemporary economic doctrines tend to devalue the official development assistance and promote the role of businesses and technology for a transformative agenda. The emphasis is shifting to strong national and subnational ownership for crafting development strategies, building robust institutions, promoting the rule of law and good governance, and fostering conditions for peace, security and stability.

There is a strong linkage between poverty eradication and sustainable development. Climate change can no more be swept under the carpet. We will have to deal with this challenge through adaptation and mitigation. Some fears need to be assuaged. The UN’s leadership on climate change will not supplant but supplement the work of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It is conventional wisdom that in the next 16 years, we will have to make conscious and resolute efforts to reduce inequalities in order to achieve the goals of inclusive development.

We agree with the Secretary General that the international community should take collective measures to reduce macroeconomic volatility and redress global systemic imbalances in the areas of aid, trade, investment, and technology transfer. To ensure the success of the sustainable development goals, the World Trade Organization must soon embrace more development-oriented trade and investment regimes.

It is also axiomatic that you cannot climb out of poverty without stimulating economic growth. Markets should be developed to create employment and decent work. Economic growth combined with distributional equity is the real panacea. To bring about growth-driven equality, what we need most is science, technology and innovation. As economist Thomas Picketty reminds us: “Over a long period of time, the main force in favor of greater equality has been the diffusion of knowledge and skills.”

As we go along, financing for development should not become our big, blind spot. Search for resources should not founder on politics. It should be guided by sound economics.

Mr. President,

It is equally important to keep our eyes on the future. We support the Secretary General’s recommendation to develop an intergenerational approach towards inclusive development. Here and now is important; but so is the year 2030 and beyond. The SDGs would not be formulated in a vacuum. They flow out of the MDGs. Mistakes need to be corrected, as the SDGs become the lodestar for the next decade and a half.

Mr. President,

Monitoring, accountability and a well conceived review mechanism should be intrinsic and integral to the post-2015 agenda. Complementary national development strategies were the bedrock of the MDGs. The same should hold true for SDGs. Without a national buy in, success would be difficult and elusive.

Mr. President,

In Pakistan, the MDGs have provided us with concrete socio-economic targets to work towards poverty alleviation, good governance, and social justice. Poverty in Pakistan is being reduced. Other areas like child mortality and improved maternal health are work in progress. Our efforts to promote women empowerment by enhancing their representation in national and provincial legislatures and enacting appropriate legal framework - something acknowledged in the report of the Secretary General - are producing tangible results 0n the ground.

Our success, however, has been hampered by the security situation, our fight against terrorism and frequent and massive natural disasters. We as a nation are determined to overcome these challenges.

The focus of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Government on economic growth and development is unrelenting. Education and health spending as a ratio of GDP is being doubled. The Prime Minister’s programme for providing a credit line to young entrepreneurs, quality education, life skills and vocational training is creating new opportunities for utilizing the full potential of our youth bulge. Similarly, energy, infrastructure and communications projects would provide the much-needed impetus for economic growth - the economic growth that would provide the foundations of equitable development.

We believe in strong partnership with the United Nations in achieving our development objectives as well as MDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Crafting solutions that eliminate poverty, strengthen institutional capacity and improve the lives of people remain our priority.

I thank you.