UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan told the United Nations Tuesday that poverty in the country was being reduced, while child mortality and maternal health efforts were ‘works-in-progress’, even though the government was engaged in fighting terrorism and frequent natural disasters.
“Our efforts to promote women empowerment by enhancing their representation in national and provincial legislatures and enacting appropriate legal framework … are producing tangible results,” Masood Khan, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the U.N., told the Economic and Social Council, the world body’s economic arm.
He was speaking in a general debate, in which government representatives took stock of the progress made thus far on the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MGDs), while searching for key lessons learned to take forward as they designed a follow-on, post-2015 development agenda.
The Pakistani envoy said greater success had been hampered by security concerns, the fight against terrorism and natural disasters, but his country was determined to overcome such challenges.
“The focus of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s Government on economic growth and development is unrelenting,” he told delegates from around the world. Education and health spending as a ratio of GDP was being doubled and the prime minister’s programme for providing a credit line to young entrepreneurs, quality education, life skills and vocational training was creating new opportunities for them.
Similarly, he said that 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.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released the Millennium Development Goals Report 2014, describing it as “the most-to-date global scorecard”. Eradicating extreme poverty was a defining challenge and even more clearly an imperative to building stable societies and tackling growing inequality, in rich and poor countries alike, he said.
Masood Khan said the Secretary-General’s report demonstrated that the glass was more than half full and that some of the results towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals were “spectacular”. However, progress had been uneven, he said.
Poverty eradication and sustainable development were linked, and climate change was a reality, he said, adding there also should be a strong focus on aid, trade, and financial and technology investments. One could not climb out of poverty without stimulated growth.
Science, technology and innovation were central to that, as knowledge and skills were driving forces.
Furthermore, the Pakistani envoy said financing should not become “our big blind spot”, and search for resources should not founder on politics. Rather, it should be guided by sound economics.