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NEW YORK: Pakistan stressed the international community on Wednesday for evolving an emergency action plan and mobilizing financial resources to ramp up food production, keep supply chains open, assist poor farmers and build food bank for the developing countries.

Addressing a press conference here at the Untied Nations, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal said being the President of G-77, in order to overcome poverty and hunger, there was a need to address the complex structure and systemic issues impeding food production by developing countries.

Being the President of G-77 countries, the minister added that Pakistan had proposed to the UN to lead an international effort to provide support to the developing countries to mitigate the effects of the supply chain shocks.

The minister, who is currently visiting the US to attend the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) session at the United Nations, said this was a component of the global effort to implement the SDGs.

This global effort, he said, had suffered serious setback due to Covid-19, climate change and conflicts in last few years.

He said Pakistan was playing an active role to evolve collective action and response for promoting collective economic interests of the developing countries. “We truly believe that just as SDGs set out as a goal that no one should left behind in any society, no country should be left behind in the world society.”

Ahsan Iqbal added that today the world was passing through major economic crisis and facing record inflation. “Supply chains are disrupted after Ukraine and Russia war creating enormous economic and political challenges for developing countries and particularly for those which are vulnerable.”

He also called for collective action within every country and at global level to face this challenge and crisis to minimize the cost of economic default or political crisis as in the case of Sri Lanka.

“We do not want Sri Lanka-like situation to erupt in another developing country. This requires the international community to work together in spirit of multilateralism,” he added.

He also drew the world attention towards the challenge of global food security, saying that the issue had been growing progressively in the developing countries due to low productivity, water scarcity, land degradation, lack of agriculture infrastructure, inadequate application of new technologies, and unfair trade practices in climate change.

The minister said Pakistan was facing challenges in food security, water security and energy security because of the issues ranging from climate change and global development.

“Largely due to climate change and insufficient investment in agriculture, Pakistan’s food security situation has become fragile. We will have to import wheat this year whereas the supply chain of wheat at global level is already disrupted, he added.

With respect to the issue of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the minister said the greatest concern was the grievous plight of the people under foreign occupation in Jammu and Kashmir, who were suffering brutal oppression, extra judicial killings, human rights violations, extended curfews, lockdowns, arbitrary detention, and illegal demographic displacement.

Ahsan Iqbal said durable peace between Pakistan and India would continue to be elusive unless the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir was resolved on the basis of UN charter and relevant resolutions of the UNSC.

He said India’s illegal and unilateral steps on 5th of August 2019 to eliminate Jammu and Kashmir’s identity mounted a massive campaign of repression against its people and it was an attempt to change demography to make it a Hindu majority territory by eliminating population of indigenous Muslims and settling down Hindus from across India in the area.

This move created barriers to a just resolution of the Kashmir dispute, he said, adding that if the tension created by India’s cruel policies in occupied Kashmir were left unattended, it could lead to another conflict in the region with potentially catastrophic consequences.

On Afghanistan issue, the minister pointed out that for the first time in 40 years, there was an opportunity to stabilize Afghanistan as the entire country was under the control of one government.

He said Pakistan was a neighbouring country and if there was instability in Afghanistan, it would be the first country to pay the price. Like others Pakistan was also disappointed that the Afghan government had not been responsive on issues of concerns, especially to the issues of girls education and recent restrictions on women, he added.

“We believe that it is necessary to continue to engage with the Afghan government and persuade them to revise their decisions.” he said.

Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan was deeply concerned by the continuation of the war in Ukraine. “Pakistan has always called for consistent and universal application of UN chartered principles including threat of use of force, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, pacific settlement of disputes and security for all states in order to ensure lasting peace and security. Pakistan called for early negotiation to end the Ukraine conflict.”

With respect to Pakistan’s efforts in mitigating climate change effects, the minister said that although Pakistan was among the least carbon emulator, it was one of the most vulnerable country to climate change and global warming.

“We are making our contribution to mitigating emissions mainly through nature-based solutions such as reforestation and adaptation of cleaner energy,” he said, adding that recently the government had started a major initiative with solar energy and renewable energy in the country. He called for international investments in Pakistan’s major climate adaptation projects to end pollution in cities, rivers and lakes. “Pakistan’s ambitious environment programme deserves generous international support.”

Speaking on the issue of Islamophobia, Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan welcomed the UN General Assembly’s recognition of this challenge by deciding to observe 15th March each year as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. We need international action plan to combat Islamophobia and other forms of intolerance and hate, he stated.

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