Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants in the caretaker government, Zeina Akar, delivered a speech during the political forum of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, in which she hoped that “the Council and its affiliated bodies will continue to stand by Lebanon as it faces, at this critical stage, an existential economic, financial and social crisis that has wiped out most its development achievements in the past three decades, forcing the state authority to rearrange priorities to work urgently to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and sustainable access to energy, and try to save education and health services, and secure vaccines for all, including foreign workers and refugees.”
“Lebanon renews its call to mitigate the effects of forced displacement on sustainable development, based on the principle of burden-sharing and responsibilities,” Akar said, appealing to the Council to “seek to intensify its efforts with relevant stakeholders to expand existing debt relief initiatives, to also include middle-income countries, and to accelerate the stolen asset recovery process.”
She pointed out that today’s forum is held at a critical moment in history, as humanity faces multiple challenges, the first of which being the Corona pandemic, alongside the social and economic crisis, as well as the threat arising from climate change.
Referring to the COVID-19 worldwide vaccination, Akar expressed grave concern towards the existence of a global vaccination gap in this regard, and renewed the call for “equity in access to timely vaccines, increased production and equitable distribution of vaccines, and fully-funded global access to the Corona vaccine.”
She also underlined that “the current epidemic must not obscure the challenges that previously existed in Lebanon, especially the crisis of the displaced. Therefore, Lebanon renews its call to mitigate the effects of forced displacement on sustainable development, based on the principle of burden-sharing and responsibilities.”
Akar considered that the world is in need of a more inclusive and interconnected multilateral system, in which the United Nations and its agencies, international financial institutions, regional organizations and other stakeholders work together effectively, with stronger links between institutions.
She added: “The 2030 Agenda calls for a transformative change that requires a paradigm shift towards policy integration, environmental sustainability, and the safeguarding of human rights, with a focus on gender equality and social justice, promoting inclusion and strong institutions.”
“This would revitalize the Economic and Social Council within multilateral, interconnected, comprehensive and effective frameworks that help us achieve the desired goals,” Akar underscored.