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ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha has said that funding is a major challenge in achieving SDGs, especially consequent global and regional conditions after the Russia-Ukraine war, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the catastrophic floods.

Addressing the session of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Conference, “National SDGs progress and challenges in the context of Covid-19 – Reflection on Volunteer National Reviews (VNRs) in South and South West Asia”, the minister that it seems next to impossible achieving UN SDGs agenda of 2030 in the current situation.

The minister highlighted that current regional and global macroeconomic conditions are very difficult due to the Russia-Ukraine war, leading to a spike in inflation, the Covod-19, and climate change effects. Pakistan and other regional countries are facing a major challenge of financing SDGs and are unable to create fiscal space due to the current economic condition.

She added that Pakistan’s economy has been severely affected by the floods as floods have caused $30 billion in damages to the infrastructure according to the World Bank, the UN, and Pakistan Planning Commission estimates, and over 33 million people have been displaced. One-third of Pakistan was submerged in water, said Pasha.

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She said that Pakistan’s contribution to greenhouse emissions is less than 0.6 per cent but it is the most-affected country by the climate change.

She said that Pakistan has gone through a human catastrophe. She said that 65,000 pregnant women are living under open skies and this is a human catastrophe.

The minister said that developing countries are facing food shortages on the face of rising inflation due to an increase in the prices of commodities, globally.

Pakistan needs urgent international support to rebuild after the floods.

Later on, talking to the media, the minister said that there is no risk of the country’s default and as long as the country remains in the Fund programme, the inflows from the multilaterals, bilateral, and commercial banks would be available. We will complete the IMF programme, she added.

She said that data is being shared with the IMF during the regular online meetings and the mission would visit Pakistan once the data sharing and their comments are addressed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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