COVID, floods compounded Pakistan’s challenges in realizing SDGs: Munir Akram

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 5 (Alliance News): Pakistan told a U.N. panel Wednesday that it has introduced legal and policy measures to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, saying those steps were essential for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Without achieving the rights of women and girls, we will not achieve the SDGs,” Ambassador Munir Akram said in a speech in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues.

But, he said, the finance, fuel and food crisis, caused by the Covid pandemic and the epic floods that hit Pakistan last year, have further compounded the challenges in realizing the SDGs and the development rights of women and girls.

Speaking in a debate on ‘Advancement of Women’, the Pakistani envoy said that rural women face particular challenges, noting that between 50 to 80 percent of women in Pakistan are food producers, while 70 percent of the livestock is managed by them in rural areas.

The international community, he pointed out, has set clear norms to promote and ensure gender equality and the rights of women to education, work, political representation, as well as participation in households, communities, and national life.

“In Pakistan ­ and in almost all countries with the exception of Afghanistan ­ these norms are established at the official level and are also widely accepted at the social and personal levels,” Ambassador Akram said.

“However, despite the normative acceptance, the situation of girls and women in many countries, especially in the rural areas, remains disadvantaged, and, in many respects, exploitative.”

Ambassador Akram questioned how the UN system could assist individual developing countries in transforming recommendations into actual development and “quality of life” outcomes for women and girls, noting that the major and pervasive challenge is the paucity of adequate financing.

“We believe that a deeper survey and study can offer conclusions of both a general and specific nature that could lead to a transformative leap in advancing women and girls’ rights.”

He suggested collecting data to further identify and understand the challenges faced by women and to build “effective policy responses and actions”.

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