“We need to eradicate poverty at a faster pace”
Ms. Shamshad Akhtar, newly appointed DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, discusses in an interview with UNDESA the reasons why we need to work together towards poverty eradication.
“With fast changing global events, magnified by recurring crises, the UN has a unique role to play in nurturing stronger multilateral framework, based on cooperation, innovative solutions and solidarity to safeguard our planet” – she states.
When asked how she viewed the UN job when approached, Ms. Akhtar said that “the emerging debates on global sustainability led by the UN and the Secretary-General’s vision in this context, along with the futuristic agenda to modernize the UN, offers a good opportunity for those engaged in the development business.”
In terms of development, Ms. Akhtar highlights that “There has been a range of innovation in financing for development, but it is important to recognize that a large proportion of people and businesses are outside the ambit of the financial system. In addition, the climate change agenda requires not only extensive financing but also that the costs of innovations are shared”.
She highly supports microfinance and she praises the instrumental role of SMEs in promoting employment “We need to be more proactive in reaching out and deepening and broadening the access to small and medium enterprise financing,” she said, adding that “only very small formal credits go to these businesses.”
She also addressed another dimension of financing, connected with the climate change agenda. “I can not but underscore the significance of mobilizing sustainable financing for developing countries, or for that matter developed countries, and innovative approaches to financing a green growth agenda,” she said. “I say this, because some of these propositions are very expensive and its affordability out of range given the fiscal situation across a number of countries. If we were to promote solar technology, which is very important in promoting green growth, it is very critical for us to look at more innovative mechanism of financing in this area.”
Finally, Ms. Akhtar shared her hopes for the uplift of the world community, “I think it is a very exciting period for all of us who are engaged in the development business. Our task is to focus on economic, social and environmental sustainability with the objective of reducing poverty, alleviating stress on the basic services and making sure people are fed properly. We cannot achieve these goals unless we equip countries to manage and implement development programs at high governance standards and ensuring programs that benefit people.”
To read the full interview click here