Pakistan has been elected as the president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for 2020-2021 session on Thursday.
Munir Akram, Pakistan‘s permanent representative to the UN, was unanimously elected the president of the Council, for the second time to this post, having served as ECOSOC President in 2005.
The only other ambassador to have had this distinction was Juan Somavia of Chile, the former director-general of International Labour Organization (ILO).
New ECOSOC President Pakistan wants an end to equality
In his acceptance speech, Akram outlined the objectives of the Pakistan presidency and said, “today UN Member States face three simultaneous challenges: the COVID-19, health and economic crisis, the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and the existential threat of climate change.”
Quoting the UN secretary general, he said: “Inequality defines our times.”
.@UNECOSOC has a new President: It is H.E. Mr. Munir Akram, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the @UN @PakistanPR_UN #UN75 #GlobalGoals #SDGs #2030Agenda pic.twitter.com/hEboTHYkxL
— UN ECOSOC President (@UNECOSOC) July 23, 2020
The legacy of colonialism, foreign occupation and racism is “a major systemic cause of inequality”, among and within nations, Akram added.
He hoped that a COVID-19 vaccine will be developed soon.
“Everyone, everywhere – rich or poor – must have equal access to the vaccine,” he added.
He said he would work closely with the Ambassador Volkan Bozkir, the president-elect of the UNGA 75th Session.
What are Pakistan’s plans as President?
The envoy proposed that in the coming year, ECOSOC should focus on financing for Covid-19, SDGs and climate change goals; sustainable infrastructure investment; and application of advanced science and technology for development. He said he would convene special meetings to advance action in these areas.
He recalled the call by Prime Minister Imran Khan for a “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” and mentioned the proposals for new special drawing rights (SDRs) and other financing proposals under consideration.
He said an additional investment of over $1.5 trillion annually in sustainable infrastructure was “most essential” for the achievement of the SDGs. He also proposed the creation of an Infrastructure Project Preparation and Investment Centre.
Preference to be given to developing countries
Akram called for preferential access for developing countries to advanced technologies and for making the intellectual property regime “compatible with the SDGs”.
“The digital revolution has opened vast opportunities for the developing countries, not so much to catch up with the advanced countries, but to leapfrog into a new and modern development paradigm,” he was quoted as saying by the press release.
ECOSOC is the UN’s central platform for economic and social development, forging consensus and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed development goals.
What is the ECOSOC?
The United Nations Economic and Social Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic and social fields of the organization, specifically in regards to the 15 specialised agencies, the eight functional commissions and the five regional commissions under its jurisdiction.
Congratulations & welcome on board Ambassador Munir Akram as President of @UNECOSOC. We look forward to the close coordination & collaboration in advancing the @UN reforms & the realization of the #2030Agenda as part of the Decade of Action on the #GlobalGoals #ForPeopleForPlanet https://t.co/JtDsaMUx7q
— Amina J Mohammed (@AminaJMohammed) July 23, 2020
The 54-Member ECOSOC is the third principal organ, along with the General Assembly and Security Council, established in 1945 under the UN Charter to promote international economic cooperation and oversee the work of all international economic organizations.
The Council serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues and formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system. A number of non-governmental organizations have been granted consultative status to the Council to participate in the work of the United Nations. Over 1600 non-governmental organisations have consultative status with the council.
GVS News Desk with additional input by other sources