Munir Akram, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, was elected the president of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for 2020-2021 session.
Munir Akram was unanimously elected the president of the Council, for the second time to this post, having served as ECOSOC President in 2005. The only other ambassador to have had this distinction was Juan Somavia of Chile, the former director-general of International Labour Organization (ILO).
The 54-Member ECOSOC is the third principal organ, along with the General Assembly and Security Council, established in 1945 under the UN Charter to promote international economic cooperation and oversee the work of all international economic organizations.
In his acceptance speech, Akram outlined the objectives of the Pakistan presidency and said, “today UN Member States face three simultaneous challenges: the COVID-19, health and economic crisis, the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals and the existential threat of climate change.”
Quoting the UN secretary-general, he said: “Inequality defines our times.”
The legacy of colonialism, foreign occupation and racism is “a major systemic cause of inequality”, among and within nations, Akram added.
He hoped that a COVID-19 vaccine will be developed soon. “Everyone, everywhere – rich or poor – must have equal access to the vaccine,” he added.
He said he would work closely with the Ambassador Volkan Bozkir, the president-elect of the UNGA 75th Session.