EOSOC working on creating a facility for infrastructure investment in developing countries: Munir Akram

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UNITED NATIONS, Nov 17 (APP): The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is engaged in efforts to establish a facility under UN’s umbrella to harmonize investment policies and help developing countries in preparation of project and feasibility studies, and in accessing financing from both public and private sources, it president, Ambassador Munir Akram, has said.

“For ECOSOC this year is obviously an extraordinarily important one because of the coronavirus crisis and the impact that it has had on the global economy, which is facing the worst recession in a century apart from a pandemic that is out of control,” he told a news briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday.

In this regard, the ECOSOC chief said the Official Development System (ODA), the UN’s mechanism and its country offices could be utilized to help the developing countries get the projects which are fundable which are investable.

Replying to a question, he said that the Group of 20 industrial nations’ move to suspend debt payments of the coronavirus-hit developing countries followed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative for debt relief which was launched in April.

The G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), Ambassador Akram said was a “major development for those 44 or 45 countries who benefited, and in fact Pakistan was one of the major beneficiaries.”

But, he said, that’s not enough as the requirements of developing countries are now estimated at 2.5 trillion and they nowhere close to getting that much money.

The ECOSOC chief said that discussions were also taking place on how to capture the proposals on financing for development and financing recovery, especially in the developing countries, that have emanated from the process that the UN Secretary-General and prime ministers of Canada and Jamaica initiated in May. Among the most important proposals identified are, debt suspension, debt swaps, the creation of new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and liquidity.

“This will be my effort and we will start consultations, hopefully with the support of the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General, and other parts of the UN machinery,” ECOSOC chief said, adding that efforts would be made to crystallize agreements on at least some of the financing issues.