Statement by Mr. Suljuk Mustansar Tarar
Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the UN on
Agenda Item 27 Social Development Third Committee
67th Session of the UNGA (New York 9 October 2012)
We congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your election. We assure you of our delegation’s full support.
- We thank the Secretary General for his reports under this agenda item. In our view these reports add value to the discussion on Social Development.
- We associate with the statement delivered by Algeria on behalf of G77 and China.
- Every year, Third Committee deliberations start with discussion on social development. However, much remains to be done to realize the people-centric vision of the World Summit for Social Development focusing on poverty eradication, full employment and social integration.
- The Secretary General’s prognosis that with the extant glacial pace of poverty alleviation we need nearly nine decades to eradicate extreme poverty is grim indeed. This objective becomes more distant when we consider the prevailing global financial crises and resultant increase in unemployment and rising inequalities within and among societies. Hence, we realize that business-as-usual and complacency is not an option and join the SG’s call for improving policy coherence and ensuring adequate financing for social development.
- Amidst a host of difficulties Government of Pakistan has focused on pro-poor economic growth. Centred on poverty elimination, our development programme recognizes the crucial link between productive employment and social cohesion. We, also, are pursuing reforms to bring the poor and vulnerable into the development mainstream with due focus on empowerment of women, and uplift of minorities, youth and the disabled.
- Social protection has been made an important part of the tool box for social development in Pakistan. Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is our pioneer social protection program. It is a cash-transfer programme focusing on empowerment of women. Through this programme, female members of beneficiary families are given monthly income-supplement assistance in cash. BISP also provides for vocational training for one member of each beneficiary family and interest free loans for small business or self-employment. The programme, also, has education and health assistance components.
- Pakistan Employees’ Old Age Benefits Institution provides pension to 4 million retired workers. We have also extended this scheme to those working in the informal economy. The self-employed, too, have the option to register themselves in the scheme.
- 68% of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 30. The annual growth rate of the labour force is 3%. Like other countries, we face the formidable task of creating jobs and ensuring decent work for our youth. “Youth Development and Community Engagement” is one of the pillars of our economic growth. Steps have been taken to harness the capacities of youth through vocational and technical training programmes. We are also promoting public-private partnership in this area.
- Last year, Pakistan ratified the Convention on rights of persons with disabilities. There is special quota for the disabled in the public sector jobs - to provide them opportunities to become part of main stream decision making.
- In Pakistan, while the government and other stakeholders are playing their role for social development, the institution of family remains the bedrock of social inclusion, care and protection. We look forward to the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family next year which will provide us the opportunity to reiterate our faith in and respect for this time tested institution.
- Positive policies in Pakistan or elsewhere are not immune to direct impact of natural or manmade disasters. The challenges we confront to achieve the objectives of World Social Summit are huge. National and international response must be commensurate. It will require decisive action. History will judge whether we, the Members of the United Nations, lived up to these challenges or succumbed to inertia and narrow self-interest.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.