The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is a global platform where leaders, diplomats, and representatives from around the world gather to address pressing international issues. In September 2023, the 78th Session of the UNGA will convene to focus on an ambitious’ Agenda for Change.’ This session will be pivotal in shaping the global trajectory for the following year, with discussions on peace, security, development, and the environment. Within this broad framework, Pakistan will play a positive and commendable role.
The ‘Agenda for Change’ will be designed to be a transformative roadmap that addresses global challenges such as the aftermath of climate change, global inequalities, and maintaining peace and security. It prioritizes:
- Emphasizing health infrastructure development, equitable medicine distribution, and bolstering economic recovery.
- Urging nations to commit to more robust climate goals, promote sustainable practices, and address the impacts of climate change.
- Discussions center on conflict resolutions, disarmament, and combating terrorism.
- Pushing for fair trade, eliminating barriers, and ensuring equitable economic benefits are shared.
Pakistan’s participation in the 78th UNGA session will be marked by constructive dialogue, collaboration, and commitment to the global good. It calls for efforts to bridge the gap between developed and developing nations. Highlighting its own successes in handling the climate issue, Pakistan offers insights into effective strategies that could be replicated in other nations, especially in South Asia. Pakistan, being among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, took a robust stance on climate action. It emphasizes the need for developed nations to support developing countries through financial and technological transfers, enabling them to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Pakistan pledges to continue supporting global peace initiatives and emphasizes its commitment to resolving conflicts, particularly in South Asia. This includes advocating for a peaceful resolution in Kashmir, a topic at the heart of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Drawing attention to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other regional connectivity projects, Pakistan emphasizes the role of regional cooperation in driving economic growth by connecting South Asia with Central Asia and beyond. Pakistan positions itself as a critical player in promoting economic interdependence and prosperity.
Diplomatic Relationships and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
An underlying theme of UNGA sessions was always the importance of diplomatic relationships; the 78th is no exception. With the ongoing geopolitical shifts, countries like Pakistan become vital players on the global stage. This session’s emphasis on multilateralism and constructive engagement underlines the significance of nurturing these diplomatic ties. Pakistan made considerable efforts in fostering South-South cooperation, aiming to solidify relationships with fellow developing countries. By leveraging shared experiences, resources, and knowledge, nations from the global south can collectively address common challenges. Pakistan’s push for enhancing South-South cooperation will receive positively, showcasing the potential of collaboration beyond traditional North-South dynamics.
In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, the ‘Agenda for Change’ will also highlight the role of technology in achieving sustainable development goals. In realizing the potential of digital transformation, Pakistan highlights its initiatives in promoting e-governance, digital education, and financial inclusion. By sharing these success stories, Pakistan will portray a vision where technology is an equalizer, bridging the development gap. Gender equality is another key topic, and Pakistan took steps forward in representing the aspirations and rights of its women on the global stage.
By emphasizing its recent policies aimed at women’s economic empowerment, education, and health, Pakistan joins the global chorus in recognizing that sustainable development is impossible without gender equality.
The 78th UNGA session will witness nations renewing their commitment to the UN’s SDGs. Pakistan, being no exception, elaborates on its strategies, achievements, and future plans concerning these goals. Pakistan’s developmental plans, especially its Vision 2030, will align with the SDGs. By integrating the SDGs into its national development agenda, Pakistan showcases its dedication to creating a more sustainable and equitable future. Given its history of hosting one of the largest refugee populations, Pakistan will bring attention to the global displacement and refugee crisis. The country advocates for a collaborative global approach to support and integrate displaced populations, ensuring their dignity, security, and well-being.
The champions of SDGs from the private sector
Climate Action and Technological Advancements
A significant part of the UNGA’s 78th session will intensify dialogue surrounding the environment, particularly in the wake of an increasing number of global climate catastrophes. Pakistan’s voice in this chorus is both poignant and meaningful, given the country’s vulnerability to climate change impacts. Pakistan can use the opportunity to highlight its ambitious afforestation project, famously known as the Billion Tree Tsunami and other initiatives geared towards promoting renewable energy, water conservation, and sustainable agriculture. These projects weren’t just about countering climate change; they were emblematic of a larger vision for a greener Pakistan. Understanding that climate change is a borderless challenge, Pakistan extend its hand for regional and global collaborations. The nation advocates for knowledge sharing, joint research initiatives, and capacity building to create a more resilient global community against the adverse effects of climate change.
The digital revolution remains a prominent theme globally, and Pakistan’s journey in embracing technology is a key narrative. The nation showcases its ‘Digital Pakistan’ vision, encompassing education and commerce sectors. Digital platforms for public services, e-commerce growth, and the startup ecosystem’s vibrancy are among the highlight achievements. Pakistan invites tech giants and innovators for collaborations, emphasizing its burgeoning tech talent pool and the potential for innovation hubs in cities like Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi.
Regional Alliances and Infrastructure Development
A critical aspect of Pakistan’s UNGA participation underscores the importance of regional peace and collaboration. Pakistan’s diplomatic endeavors, especially with neighboring countries, have presented as pivotal for regional stability. The emphasis is on peaceful dialogues, trade collaborations, and cultural exchanges. Pakistan showcases its efforts to foster ties beyond its immediate neighbors, highlighting collaborations in Africa, Central Asia, and the Pacific. Such partnerships are a testament to Pakistan’s vision of an interconnected and harmonious world.
Infrastructure development stands as a pillar of progress. Pakistan’s strides in this domain garner considerable attention. Highlighting its projects like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan emphasizes its vision for enhancing regional connectivity, promising economic boons for Pakistan and the broader region. Pakistan’s commitment to environmentally sustainable infrastructure is evident. Plans for green cities, efficient transportation networks, and renewable energy projects will be put forth, aligning with global sustainable development goals. Cultural narratives shape global perceptions. Pakistan will take this UNGA session as an opportunity to reiterate its rich history and diverse heritage. Pakistan will organize cultural exhibits on the sidelines of the UNGA session, offering delegates a chance to immerse themselves in Pakistan’s art, music, and traditions.
Pakistan emphasizes its history as a cradle of civilizations, stressing its long-standing hospitality, tolerance, and coexistence traditions.
Women’s Empowerment and Youth Engagement
The 78th UNGA Session is momentous for addressing gender imbalances and advocating for women’s rights. Pakistan will highlight the numerous programs initiated at home to uplift women, from microfinancing schemes to leadership training. Such endeavors have enabled countless women to become community entrepreneurs, educators, and changemakers. Pakistan’s female representatives will take to the global stage, emphasizing the necessity of gender-inclusive policies, especially in developing nations. Their speeches resonate with the shared global vision of a more equitable world.
One of the defining moments of the 78th UNGA session will be the focus on youth engagement. Understanding that young people are the torchbearers of future change, Pakistan underscores its efforts in prioritizing youth in its development agenda. Pakistan will showcase its initiatives, such as youth entrepreneurship schemes, digital literacy programs, and vocational training, aimed at tapping into the vast potential of its young population. By offering a platform for its youth at the UNGA, Pakistan reiterates its belief in the potential of young minds to shape a brighter, more sustainable future. Pakistan actively sought collaborations with international youth programs and initiatives. Through exchange programs, collaborative research, and global forums, Pakistan aims to integrate its youth with the global community, fostering a sense of shared purpose and responsibility. Pakistan’s rich cultural, historical, and architectural heritage became another focal point. By engaging in cultural diplomacy, Pakistan aims to foster understanding, dispel misconceptions, and build bridges with the global community. Pakistan will announce a series of cultural festivals and exhibitions to be held domestically and internationally. These events would celebrate the country’s diverse tapestry of traditions, arts, and crafts, promoting global understanding and appreciation.
The curtains will draw on the UNGA’s 78th session, with delegates carrying back experiences, learnings, and renewing commitments to their nations. Pakistan’s presentations, initiatives, and collaborations will reinforce its position as a country with a vision – a vision of progress, harmony, and global brotherhood. The challenges ahead are manifold, but sessions like these remind the global community of the strength in unity and the promise of collective ambition.