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Pakistan urges creation of facility for infrastructure investment in developing countries

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called for establishing a facility under UN’s umbrella to provide adequate financing for infrastructure investment in developing countries to spur economic development as they cope with the losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The pandemic has created the worst recession in a century — over a 100 million will fall back into extreme poverty, over a decade’s development gains will be lost, and achievement of (development) Agenda 2020 will be all the more difficult, yet all the more vital,” Ambassador Munir Akram told the General Assembly’s Second Committee, which deals economic and financial matters.

Speaking in a debate on Infrastructure Development, the Pakistani envoy said the outcome of those adverse factors “will be a perfect storm of spreading poverty, political chaos and environmental devastation.”

“The response to this multiple crisis”, he said, “must be massive and coordinated, synergizing the goals of recovery from COVID, the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and implementation of the Paris Agreements (on climate change).”

“The large and long-term finance required for infrastructure investment has to be actively mobilized,” Ambassador Akram said. There is a solid economic rationale to prioritize infrastructure investment in developing countries, adding the returns on investment can be double and triple those in the advanced economies.

In this regard, he proposed, among other elements, support for regional and cross-border infrastructure initiatives, to enhance connectivity, electricity grids and investment in sustainable infrastructure, utilization of advances in IT and digital applications and help yo developing countries to prepare feasible and bankable infrastructure projects.

“The extensive expertise within the UN system, including its country offices in most developing countries, could be utilized to identify and prepare viable sustainable development projects prioritized by the developing countries,” Ambassador Akram said.

“With global political support, this UN-affiliated facility could mobilize, maximize and coordinate investment decisions and actions by developing countries, ODA (official development assistance) providers and private and public sector investors to advance the realization of the SDGs,” he said, adding that adequate infrastructure investment in poor nations could ignite the world economy, alleviate poverty, assure progress towards the Paris climate accords and significantly advance the iSDGs’ implementation.

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.