In what can be seen as a success for Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts, Munir Akram, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan in the United Nations (UN), has been elected as the seventy-sixth president of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This is the leading platform through which social and economic reform can be proposed, discussed and encouraged. Munir Akram’s unanimous election to become president of the third principal body of the UN is international recognition of Pakistan’s drive towards development and progress. The feat can and must be seen as a vote of confidence from the comity of nations.

The presidency of the organisation will motivate Pakistan to play a meaningful role at regional and international forums, especially at the UN. Pakistan, hopefully, will show more commitment to make ECOSOC as the central forum for discussing global economic and social issues and for formulating policy recommendations. It is a rare opportunity for the country to take centre stage in shaping the UN development agenda and would advance the interests of developing countries. The fact that one of our representatives has ascended to this position for a sixth time does not mean that this responsibility should be taken lightly. We hope that Munir Akram as president of the UN body will try to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and cooperation in the spirit of multilateralism.

The accomplishment shows that our diplomatic relations and strategic standing are much better than perceived. With the presidency, we can say that all efforts of rivals to tarnish the image of Pakistan have gone wasted. Islamabad must exploit the opportunity for implementation of the 2030 agenda both at home and abroad for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The fact that Pakistan has secured critical positions on the body’s bureau for the third time in the last four years is a testimony to the international community’s faith in Pakistan. Mr Munir Akram is undoubtedly the right man to build on this positive image.