Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations During the General Debate in the Second Committee (09 October 2018)

Mr. Chairman,

Let me begin by congratulating the Chair and members of the Bureau for their election.

I assure you of my delegation’s full support.

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr. Chairman,

Today multilateralism and a rules-based cooperative arrangement face unprecedented challenges.

Landmark international agreements in economic, trade, development, and climate change are unlikely to achieve their full objectives in such a contentious global environment.

This is likely to have adverse implications for all, more so on the growth and prosperity of developing countries.

The Committee’s deliberations this year should therefore focus on finding ways to; strengthen multilateral cooperative arrangements; promote international cooperation to achieve shared objectives; address impediments to implementation of key international agreements; and, address emerging development challenges.

Mr. Chairman,

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offered the most ambitious framework for development. We are fully committed to implementing it, in line with our national development objectives.

Key priorities of my country’s new government correspond to the 2030 Agenda:

While domestic resource mobilization and greater self-reliance are at the heart of this effort, we believe an enabling international environment, greater access to financial resources and technological support remains critical to achieve our priorities.

Mr. Chairman,

The UN Development System has an important role to play in supporting the implementation of 2030 Agenda.

Earlier this year, we agreed on important measures to make UNDS fit for purpose, especially at the country level.

As we move forward, we seek full implementation of these measures. I would like to reiterate some of these:

Mr. Chairman,

Illicit financial flows, caused by tax evasion, corruption and transnational organized crime have serious implications for economic, social and political stability and development, especially in the developing countries.

Accountability and recovery of stolen assets is the corner stone of the agenda of Pakistan’s new government. It is committed to taking all possible policy, legal and institutional measures in this regard.

We firmly believe that enhancing international cooperation is critical to combat illicit financial flows, especially for recovery of stolen assets.

The UN Convention against Corruption, of which Pakistan is a signatory, provides the required international framework for this cooperation. Return of stolen assets pursuant to Chapter V of the Convention needs to be fully implemented.

Mr. Chairman,

Water resources and their effective and efficient management underpin poverty eradication, economic growth, food and energy security, and environmental sustainability.

Water-related disasters severely undermine sustainable development gains, retard economic growth and push people back to poverty.

The World Economic Forum identified water crises as the third most impactful global risk in the 2016 and 2017 Global Risks Reports.

Pakistan is a water stressed country - likely to be water scarce by 2025, highly vulnerable to water related disasters as a lower riparian state.

This combination of factors makes us especially vulnerable.

We have recently adopted a National Water Policy, offering a comprehensive approach to water issues. At its core is increasing water storage capacity through a number of large-scale projects.

One major project in this regard, the multi-billion-dollar Diamer-Bhasha Dam, will not only serve as a major source for clean energy, drinking water and irrigation, but will also significantly enhance our water management capabilities and safeguard against flooding.

International cooperation needs to be further strengthened to support water related national priorities, as well as the protection of interests of lower riparian states through strong and effective regional mechanisms.

Mr. Chairman,

Climate Change has emerged as the single most critical challenge of our time. It is also a threat multiplier, aggravating existing political, social and economic challenges.

Pakistan remains acutely vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, and is threatened in multiple ways - drought, desertification, glacial-melt, sea level rise and recurrent flooding.

We believe addressing climate change is a collective undertaking that requires a global response.

The Paris Agreement provides a unique opportunity to turn our aspirations into reality. Early conclusion of modalities of the Agreement is needed.

We also need renewed political will to achieve the Paris objectives, including the fulfillment of the $ 100 billion pledge by 2020.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan has always attached great importance to South-South collaborative efforts, and remains engaged with many developing countries in this regard.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – a multi layered connectivity project – is a shining example of win-win cooperation. Its scale and scope is enormous and it promises huge economic and developmental benefits to both China and Pakistan, as well as to the region and beyond.

Mr. Chairman,

To conclude, let me underline Pakistan’s continued support to people living under colonial domination and foreign occupation. A people’s right of self-determination is a fundamental human right, enshrined in the UN Charter. Colonial and foreign occupation is a huge obstacle to economic and social development, and to the achievement of SDGs.

As we envision an inclusive world in 2030: ensuring that no one is left behind, we must ensure that people under colonial and foreign occupation are not left behind either.

I thank you.