Pakistan urges boost in south-south cooperation to deal with pandemic’s destructive impact

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called for intensification of cooperation among developing counties to enable them to recover from the  "beyond imaginable" devastation left behind by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

"Without sustained collective action, the pandemic could leave a legacy of widening inequalities within and between countries, with the most vulnerable left further behind," Ambassador Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative to the UN,  said at a virtual commemoration of the UN Day for South-South Cooperation.

"The impact of COVID-19 pandemic is beyond imaginable," the Pakistani representative added.

Developed countries, he said,  were recovering back owing to the stimulus measures of around 17 trillion, while developing countries were sinking deeper into a cycle of poverty, unsustainable debt, and austerity due to their inability to borrow on favourable conditions and stimulate their economies.  "The pandemic can only be defeated through global and cross-border coordination and collaboration," Ambassador Khan said.

Less than 20 percent of the historic $17 trillion in stimulus and recovery funds has been spent in developing countries, leaving them saddled with rising debt that limits their ability to provide public healthcare and  social protection, he said.

At the same time, Ambassador Khan highlighted the progress made through south-south cooperation, pointing out that many countries in the global south have built thriving economies and are now driving much of the global economic dynamism.

"We have constructed institutions of cooperation across the world and we should take pride in the fact of the institutions such as the ASEAN (association of South East Asian Nations), AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) that has promoted South-South cooperation to an unprecedented level."

In this regard, he called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)  a "shining example" of South-South Cooperation, saying the project's benefits transcend borders, and its Special Economic Zones (SEZs) provide immense potential for economic growth, job creation, and poverty eradication. - APP