ECOSOC chief urges youth to contribute in combating challenges facing Covid-hit world

UNITED NATIONS: The President of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, Wednesday gave a clarion call to young people to make their “valuable contribution” in meeting the unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic that the world is grappling with.

“The future belongs to you, the youth, ” he said in his opening remarks to the 10th ECOSOC Youth Forum at which representatives of youth organizations and networks dialogue with member states to explore ways to promote youth development and engagement.

“We need your energy, your ideals, your boldness, your imagination, your innovation, to build the structure of a peaceful, prosperous and equal world order, ” Ambassador Akram added.

Youth Forum, an annual initiative of the ECOSOC president, has evolved into a key platform where young people can contribute to policy discussions at the United Nations through their collective ideas, solutions and innovations.

“Today, ” the Pakistani envoy said, “We face multiple challenges – the Covid pandemic, a deep global recession, rising poverty, an impending climate catastrophe, rising inequality and extremism, a new arms race, proliferating and unresolved disputes, and the danger of revived great power rivalry and tensions.

The world community, he said, must respond to these challenges with wisdom and determination, starting with defeating the Covid-19.

“Vaccines must be made available to everyone, everywhere. We must oppose vaccine nationalism. And, we must understand that No one will be safe until everyone is safe.”

The ECOSOC president also called for mobilizing national and international efforts, especially finance, to recover from the recession which has been induced by the pandemic and to revive the prospects of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

He said everything possible must be done to avoid the impending climate catastrophe – to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and transition to a green global economy. The commitments made at the Paris Conference to mobilize $100 billion in climate finance annually must be fulfilled.

In addition, Ambassador Akram called for redressing the endemic inequalities in national and international structures – economic, social, racial, gender inequalities.

“We must defeat the rising forces of racism, extremism and fascism, ” he said.

“We can do so only through international cooperation, especially by fully utilizing and strengthening the United Nations – the world’s only universal organization – and by reinforcing respect for its fundamental principles.”