Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, in the Second Committee Debate on Agenda Item 19: Sustainable Development
(14 October 2019)

Thank You Chair,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement delivered by the State of Palestine on behalf of G77 and China.

We are living through extraordinary times in terms of the complexity and urgency of challenges the world faces, many of which are testing our ability to collectively advance sustainable development.

Today multilateralism and rules-based cooperative arrangements are under unprecedented challenge.

Landmark international agreements in economic, trade, development, and climate change are unlikely to achieve their full objectives in such a fraught 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 the challenge of financing for development, for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Chair,

We see a mixed picture in advancing sustainable development.

While encouraging headway have been made in a number of areas, the journey towards global sustainability has not progressed as we had all hoped.

There have been notable successes in reducing extreme poverty, with hundreds of millions of people lifted out of poverty. Yet poverty stubbornly persists in many parts of the world especially Africa and South Asia.

Similarly after prolonged decline, world hunger seems to be on the rise again.

Conflicts, drought and disasters linked to climate change are among the key factors causing the reversal in the long-term progress achieved in fighting global hunger, making the prospect of ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030 more difficult.

Indicators of global health and infant mortality are also not exceptionally heartening.

Mr. Chair,

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offered the most ambitious framework for development.

The challenge remains: to match that transformative agenda with adequate means of implementation.

Financing, fair trade, debt sustainability, access to technology, and capacity building are key enablers in this regard.

My country Pakistan is fully committed to implementing the 2030 agenda, in line with our national development objectives.

The key priorities of my 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. Chair,

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 my 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. Chair,

Climate Change has emerged as the single most critical challenge of our time. It is also a threat multiplier, compounding 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.

Addressing climate change is a collective undertaking that requires a global response. We therefore welcome the holding last month of Climate Action Summit by the Secretary General and hope that with renewed political will we will move towards achievement of the Paris Agreement objectives, including the fulfillment of the $ 100 billion pledge by 2020.

Mr. Chair,

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.