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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

08 December 2022


Excellency, Dr. Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan,

Distinguished Ministers from South and South-West Asia,

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me immense pleasure to address this august gathering at the Sixth South and South-West Asia Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Twenty-Fifth Sustainable Development Conference.

I would like to express my most sincere appreciation to the Government of Pakistan and our partner institute, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, for co-hosting this Forum and convening this Conference.

We recognize and appreciate the tremendous efforts made by the Government as well as all our partners during this difficult time for Pakistan.

I should like to express my deep sorrow for the loss of lives and livelihoods due to the devastating floods.

Having personally witnessed this calamity, the Secretary-General noted, “The people of Pakistan are the victims of a grim calculus of climate injustice. 

Pakistan is responsible for less than 1 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet it is paying a supersized price for man-made climate change.” 

Given this backdrop, the Government’s hard advocacy efforts helped to lead to the breakthrough decision at COP27 to establish a fund to respond to loss and damage resulting from climate change. 

We stand in solidarity with the Government and people of Pakistan as they strive to recover and rebuild. 

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

The South and South-West Asia Forum on SDGs is a multistakeholder platform to review progress and challenges in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to find solutions together.

Just when we thought we were starting to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, impact of the geopolitical tension including Ukraine war on food, energy and finance have hampered recovery.

Governments are juggling multiple crises as they try to build back better. Given the complexity of their challenges, the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda remain relevant more than ever.

At this point in time, I would therefore like to highlight three areas of particular importance for South and South-West Asia.  

The subregion faces the highest risks of natural hazards, such as floods, droughts, cyclones, heatwaves, dust storms, glacial lake outbursts and earthquakes. 

These disasters could cascade into other hazards, such as locusts, dengue and cholera. It is of utmost urgency to accelerate climate action and ensure inclusivity in disaster risk reduction.

Despite their vulnerability to climate-induced disasters, fossil fuel subsidies and trade barriers on environmental goods generally remain high in South and South-West Asia.

Well targeted use of subsidies could release the resources necessary for public investments in clean energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Clean transport will be catalytic to mainstreaming renewable energy.  Renewable energy must be available to low-income as well as marginalized populations. It is important to ensure an energy transition that is both just and inclusive. 

We have seen that during the pandemic, digital technologies enabled (a) the dissemination of information and distribution of social benefits, (b) the provision of goods and services to consumers, (c) remote work from homeand (d) the continuing of schooling for children.

Digital literacy and skills have become a necessity. Digital inclusion will become essential for the achievement of sustainable development and Leaving No One Behind.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

In closing, I would, once again, like to reiterate our commitment to fostering regional cooperation and supporting member States and all of you in achieving SDGs.

Thank you very much.

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Subregional Office for South and South-West Asia +91 11 3097 3700 [email protected]