UNITED NATIONS, Feb 09 (APP): Pakistan has called for finding a “long-term and comprehensive” solution of the debt problem for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as part of the efforts to build back better from the wreckage left behind by of the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

“We need to find a permanent, comprehensive, and inclusive solution for this problem,” Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative to the UN, told a preparatory meeting for the 5th UN Conference on LDCs, which is due to take place in Doha next January.

The main aim of the conference, known as LDC-V, is to mobilize additional international support for the Covid-ravaged LDCs, eradicate poverty and achieve internationally agreed development goals.

In his remarks, Aamir Khan said that following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Global Initiative for Debt Relief, several moves have been made in this connection, including the suspension of developing countries’ debt until June 2021 by G-20 (major industrialized countries), but those steps were not enough, and he underscored the “imperative” need to find a solution.

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“While the virus knows no border, it is painfully obvious that poor and vulnerable countries, especially the LDCs, have been hit the hardest because of the drop in commodity prices, falling remittances, lack of tourism, and disruption in global supply chains,” the Pakistani representative said. Other key issues he proposed for the upcoming conference to focus on were:

— Ensuring a viable framework for equitable and affordable distribution of COVID vaccine to the developing countries.

— Establishing a mechanism at the UN to help all developing countries, especially the LDCs, to bridge the current infrastructure gap.

— Bridging the digital divide and to increase technical cooperation aiming at technology transfer for LDCs.

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— Discussing Pakistan’s proposal for a strong mechanism to forge international cooperation to curb illicit financial flows from developing countries, and for unconditional and speedy return of stolen assets from the destination countries.

— Stressing for fulfilling the existing commitments to poor countries towards climate finance and Official Development Assistance (ODA).

“If we are to build back better from the wreckage of the COVID-19 crisis, it is imperative that majority of people living in developing countries, especially the LDCs, are made part of it,” the Pakistani representative said.