Pacific states approach United Nations body

The UN Economic and Social Council has assured representatives of the Pacific Small Island Developing States including Samoa that it will strive to use the 54-member body to assist the island states respond to the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram, speaking in his capacity as the President of UN Economic and Social Council [E.C.O.S.O.C.], told envoys from the Pacific Small Island Developing States [P.S.I.D.S.] that he would try and use the 54-member body’s machinery to help their nations respond to the double blows of the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

“We will, in consultation with your group, try and see how we can move the needle and how we can advance on the objectives that we all share,” he said in a virtual meeting with the PSIDS ambassadors, who briefed him about the region’s serious problems that have also impacted the key tourism sector of the scenic islands.

A statement highlighting the virtual meeting between the E.C.O.S.O.C. President and the P.S.I.D.S. envoys was released by the Associated Press of Pakistan.

Ambassador Akram, who was unanimously elected in July as E.C.O.S.O.C. President for 2020-21, said he looked forward to P.S.I.D.S. contributions and views during their discussions aimed at formulating a response to their “dire circumstances”.

He said among the priorities in the E.C.O.S.O.C. context could be the recent Debt Service Suspension Initiative [D.S.S.I.].

In this regard, Ambassador Akram cited Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s debt relief initiative which is currently under intensive discussion.

Launching his initiative in April, P.M. Khan urged international stakeholders for urgent debt relief for developing countries so they can deal more effectively with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Apart from the financing issues, Ambassador Akram said he had proposed a focus on sustainable infrastructure and on science and technology aimed at boosting investments.

The P.S.I.D.S. comprises Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

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