Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations at the General Debate of the ECOSOC High Level Segment of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2018 (19 July 2018)

Honorable Ministers,


Madam President,

Let me begin by commending your able stewardship during this year’s High Level Political Forum. My delegation would also like to congratulate the ECOSOC Secretariat and DESA for organizing this successful event.

We align ourselves with the statement made by Egypt on behalf of the G77 and China.

Madam President,

The momentum that was created in 2013 when the first High Level Political Forum was held here in New York played a key role in the landmark adoption of the 2030 Agenda. Since then, we gather here every year to take stock and learn from each other’s experiences.

Time and again we have heard world leaders say that there is no “Planet B”.

While this maxim is gaining currency, humanity is increasingly finding itself caught in a race against time to find workable and affordable solutions to complex problems, ranging from poverty and world hunger to climate change and inclusive development.

This year’s theme, "Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies" encompasses the essence of the 2030 Agenda. Based on successes of previous High-Level Forums, as well as other breakthroughs achieved elsewhere it embraces the comprehensive nature of the SDGs.

The evolving nature of natural and man-made disasters necessitates that resilience should be at the heart of all discussions about sustainable development.

Madam President,

The broad scope of the 2030 agenda is a challenge in itself. Policy makers and planners all over the world have to ensure that all goals and targets get equal attention. But this sadly does not seem to be the case.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, in its latest SDG Progress Report for the region, for example, has found that the Asia-Pacific region is failing to meet two thirds of the targets set in the 2030 agenda. The report paints a grim picture of lack of progress on SDG 15 (life on land), and assesses that SDG 13 on Climate Action is also unlikely to be achieved at the current pace.

Besides environmental targets, the report states that Goals 8, 10 and 16 are also lagging behind as efforts to promote decent work and inclusive economic growth, reduce inequality and build justice through peace and strong institutions have had only limited success, as the fruits of rapid economic growth have not been equitably shared.

This lack of sense of urgency on certain SDGs can be detrimental to us all. In a world where global flows of Foreign Direct Investment are rapidly falling, with a 23 percent decline witnessed just last year, efforts for joint mobilization of necessary funds for sustainable development may be the one that suffers the greatest hit. We therefore welcome the Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ announcement that he will convene a high level meeting in September on financing the 2030 agenda.

With world hunger on the rise again and conflicts, droughts and climate change directly affecting progress on SDG 1 and 2, we need to step up our response with greater focus and honest commitments.

Madam President,

My country has always underlined the essential role of ECOSOC, especially the High Level Political Forum, in realizing the objectives set by the 2030 Agenda.

At the same time, we underscore that States have the primary leadership role in implementing various SDGs, in line with their respective national policies, priorities and needs.

Pakistan was among the pioneers, demonstrating and mobilizing full political support and ownership of the sustainable development agenda.

At home, sustainable development has figured high in Pakistan’s list of priorities. Even before the formal adoption of the 2030 Agenda, we had started recalibrating our policy frameworks on sustainable principles. Pakistan’s vision 2025 has embedded all SDGs into its seven pillars and twenty-five goals.

Because of this ownership and preparedness, within weeks of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, we were able to launch the SDGs in Pakistan.

Ours is the first Parliament in the world to localize SDGs through adoption of a unanimous resolution in the National Assembly of Pakistan on 19 February 2016.

We have also taken steps to gradually introduce SDGs in the curriculum taught in schools so that our younger generation is introduced to these concepts at an early age.

At the Federal Level, SDGs Monitoring and Coordination Units have been established to serve as a national coordinator and follow-up entity on the Development Agenda.

Our provincial governments have also established SDG units for coordinated implementation of SDGs.

Madam President,

HLPF has emerged as an important marketplace for ideas. I trust deliberations during the course of this year’s HLPF will mark an important step forward in providing integrated policy solutions and ideas to lead to transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies; solutions that are creative, actionable and sustainable.

My delegation looks forward to the discussions that would follow and to a constructive and meaningful outcome.

I thank you all.