UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan was elected to two important United Nations panels on Monday, a feat that Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said was a recognition of Islamabad's positive contribution to the work of the world body.

The panels are: the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the UNICEF Executive Board.

The elections took place at a session of the 54-member Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the economic arm of the United Nations.

Re-elected for the sixth time to the UN Committee on NGOs, Pakistan polled 43 of the 53 member States present and voting.

Five candidates were competing four seats in the Asia Pacific Group.

“Pakistan’s election to the Committee is a strong vote of confidence by the international community in our positive role and contribution in the work of the United Nations”, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said after the election.

“As a member, Pakistan will continue to promote cooperation by the UN with civil society organisations working alongside governments to improve the lives of people across the world."

The Committee oversees the implementation of the legal framework governing NGOs participation in the work of the UN. It considers the applications of NGOs for consultative status and makes recommendations to ECOSOC.

This consultative status provides NGOs access to a range of fora at the UN, including the Human Rights Council, ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, UN conferences, and events organised by the President of the General Assembly.

“Pakistan has a diverse and thriving civil society”, Maleeha Lodhi said, adding, “The government has always demonstrated a longstanding commitment to and encouraged participation of civil society in discussions aimed at finding solutions to the challenges faced by the world today”.

She assured the countries which voted for Pakistan of the country’s firm commitment to uphold the purposes and the principles of the UN Charter, including through its membership of the Committee on NGOs. 

Pakistan’s last term in the UNICEF's Executive Board was from 2013-2015, during which Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi also served as its President.

Created in 1946 by the UN General Assembly, UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential.

“Pakistan attaches great importance to protecting and promoting the rights of children, which is both smart economics and a moral obligation”, she commented after the election, pointing out that Pakistan was one of the co-initiators of the 1990 World Summit for Children, which led to the adoption of the landmark Conventions on Rights of Child.

“As a member of the UNICEF Executive Board, Pakistan reaffirms its commitment to implement the ambitious SDG targets on improving child health and education, addressing malnutrition, ending violence against children, eradicating poverty and reducing inequality among children”, Maleeha Lodhi said.