ECOSOC chief Munir Akram urges stepped up efforts to mobilize funding for coronavirus-hit developing countries

Pakistan urges additional non-permanent seats in UNSC to ensure regional representation

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 09 (APP): The President of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram, has urged the international community to boost its efforts to mobilize the financing required to enable the developing countries to rebuild their economies from the devastation left behind by the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

“To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a resilient, sustainable and equitable recovery from COVID-19, we need to mobilize resources and finance investments in sustainability and resilience,” he said ahead of ECOSOC’s high-level meeting on Financing for Development, which will take place April 12.

The ECOSOC chief said the week-long meeting will help build political momentum behind a new way forward on debt and liquidity.

Infrastructure investment, he said, was the key to unlock sustainable development and the COVID-19 recovery.

With the vaccine inequality now becoming more and more visible, Ambassador Akram said quick action was needed for effectively responding to pandemic effectively.

He welcomed the Group of 20 (industrialized nations’) move to create $650 billion in new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), and also a proposal from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief for the repurposing or reallocation of an utilized SDRs is of some countries to provide assistance to developing countries.

“I hope that this reallocation will be sizable, and that it will be applied to those countries, which actually need the liquidity and fiscal space.”

Ambassador Akram hoped that G-20 would remain flexible in their debt service suspension initiative, now extended until December of 2021, even though they said it will be the last extension. Flexibility was needed because no one was sure about how far and how long the pandemic lasts, he said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s launched initiative for debt relief was launched in April 2020.

There are also some negative aspects to our efforts on financing — the private sector creditors have not so far participated in the debt suspension, and we need to find ways in which to secure their participation,” Ambassador Akram said, adding that there was no action on private debt.

Secondly, he said, the debt suspension initiative has not been extended to certain middle income countries, which are also in a very vulnerable situation, especially some of the small island developing countries, and that must be reviewed.

Noting that the level of official development assistance (ODA) had declined from from donor countries, Ambassador Akram hoped that next week’s meeting on Financing for Development would be able to adopt some clear cut decisions for action.

On climate change, he underscored the need for the developed country partners to fulfill their commitments under the Paris agreements on carbon emission reductions and mobilization of 100 billion dollars for climate finance.

“We have also, of course, to understand that recovery from COVID will remain fragile, and will remain temporary, unless we utilize this opportunity to also introduce structural reforms in the at the national and international level in the international financial system in the debt architecture in the trade regime,” he said.

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