UNGA: PM Khan appeals for urgent action to prevent economic collapse in developing countries due to COVID-19
Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Friday, proposed a 10-point agenda, during his virtual address to the special session of United Nations General Assembly, on how to avoid an economic collapse in developing countries amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two-day special session of the United Nations General Assembly in Response to the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) Pandemic kick-started on December 3 at the UN Headquarters. The idea behind convening the session is to develop a united response to recovery from the deadly coronavirus pandemic. It will be addressed by 141 speakers, including 53 heads of state, 39 heads of government, four deputy prime ministers, and 38 ministers through pre-recorded videos.
The prime minister, in his pre-recorded message, detailed his plan to combat the pandemic and its lasting effects, which included emergency financial support to developing countries.
COVID-19 Pandemic the most serious global crisis after WWII:
The prime minister said that "the COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious global crisis since the second world war. The virus has infected nearly 65 million people and killed, sadly, close to 1.5 million. And hopefully, whenever the vaccine is available, it must be offered to everyone. The pandemic has caused immense human sufferings and the deepest global economic contractions since the great depression of the 1930s."
Nearly 100 million people in developing countries will fall back into extreme poverty:
The premier highlighted that the "rich countries have injected 13 trillion dollars as the fiscal stimulus to revive their economies. On the other hand, developing countries don't have the resources to afford such a massive economic stimulus. They are struggling to even find a fraction of 2-3 trillion that they require to recover from the pandemic. Therefore, nearly 100 million people in developing countries will fall back into extreme poverty."
Pakistan's response to the pandemic:
The Prime minister, in his address, shared that Pakistan's smart lockdown policy has been successful.
"Our efforts were aimed at ensuring that not only do we save people from the virus but also prevent them from dying from hunger. We provided a relief package of around $8 billion – which was almost 3% of our DGP – to support the poor and to keep the economy afloat at the same time."
The prime minister also presented a 10-point agenda for urgent action in order to prevent economic collapse in developing countries:
- Debt suspension for low income and most stressed countries till the pandemic ends
- Cancellation of debt for developed countries
- Restructuring of the public sector debt of other developing countries under an agreed inclusive multilateral framework
- A general allocation of special drawing rights of $500 billion
- Expanded concessional financing to lower-income countries through multilateral development banks
- Creation of a new ‘liquidity and sustainability facility’ to provide short term loans at lower costs
- Fulfillment of the 0.7% official development assistance commitments
- Mobilising the required $1.5 trillion annual investment in sustainable infrastructure
- Achievement of the agreed target of mobilizing $100 billion per year for climate action in developing countries
- Immediate action to stop the massive illicit financial outflows from developing countries to rich countries, offshore tax havens, and at the same time, immediate return of their assets stolen by corrupt politicians and criminals back to these countries