ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan today (Tuesday) urged the developed countries, producing COVID-19 vaccines, to ramp up production and ensure rapid distribution to all, including developing countries.
“While the support offered by some major nations is commendable, more needs to be done,” the Prime Minister said, while addressing the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development through a video message.
The Prime Minister highlighted the COVID-19 impacts and ways to deal with its ramifications, saying that universal and affordable access to Covid-19 vaccines was essential to defeat the virus and revive global economy.
The premier added that vaccine production under license, full funding of Covax facility and provision of grants and concessional ending will enable developing countries to purchase vaccines at fair prices.
He remarked that the forum is being held at a critical moment in human history. “The world is facing an unprecedented triple challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic; the reversal of economic progress; and the existential threat posed by climate change,” he added.
“The global economy will not recover fully until all countries — rich and poor — are enabled to accelerate and expand investment for achieving the SDGs (sustainable development goals) and climate goals,” he continued.
Speaking of Pakistan’s efforts to fight COVID-19, the prime minister said that the country has been more fortunate than other countries. “Through our policies of ‘smart lockdowns’ and focus on the disadvantaged, we have been able to somehow contain the virus. We managed to save precious lives and at the same time livelihoods,” he added.
PM Imran Khan appreciated the international recognition of Pakistan’s pandemic containment strategy and the Ehsaas social protection programme. “We are now making all possible efforts to accelerate our vaccination campaign,” he said.
‘Build back better’
He pointed out that what is also needed is the mobilisation of adequate finance “to enable the developing countries to meet the triple challenge of COVID recovery, SDG implementation and realisation of environmental goals”.
“There are synergies in these three challenges which should be utilised to build back better”, he said. PM Imran Khan said that the high-income countries have been able to inject $17 trillion to stimulate their economies, but others are still struggling.
“The developing countries are estimated to need at least $4.3 trillion to recover from the crises and implement the SDGs. They have so far, unfortunately, secured access to less than 5% of this amount,” he added.
“I welcome the agreement to create $650 billion in new SDRs. Yet, the additional reserves created for the poorest countries will not provide anywhere close to the magnitude of financial relief they require,” he stressed.
“It is, therefore, essential that the proposal of the IMF Director-General, that the high-income countries voluntarily re-allocate a part of their unutilised IMF quotas, be approved urgently,” he urged.
Cooperation for a more prosperous world
While concluding, PM Imran spoke of how the pandemic had revealed the essential unity of humanity and the close interdependence of nations. “This crisis should crystallise awareness of the immutable importance of the principles and purposes of the UN Charter,” he said.
We must focus on peaceful and just resolution of disputes and promote international cooperation for building a more equitable, stable and prosperous world,” he concluded.