UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, voiced concern over the increasing debt vulnerabilities of developing countries, and called for strengthening the international financial institutions for long-term debt sustainability.
Speaking at the UN Financing for Development Forum on Tuesday, Ambassador Munir Akram said the developing countries were facing a triple challenge — Covid-19, environmental and economic — exacerbating the existing inequalities within and between countries.
“It is feared that owing to the extreme economic hardship, unsustainable debt burden, high borrowing cost, rising inflation, illicit financial flows, and difficulties in accessing concessional finance, many developing countries would not be able to recover soon from the crisis and achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals),” he said.
Pakistan is the current chairman of G-77 and China, which now has 134 members and is the United Nations’ biggest intergovernmental group of emerging countries.
Road to recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and achievement of the 2030 development agenda would first of all need to ensure equitable access to safe and effective pandemic vaccines at affordable prices, the G-77 chairman said.
The Group, he said, also calls for the elimination of safe havens that create incentives for the transfer of stolen assets and illicit financial flows, and emphasizes the return of stolen assets to the countries of origin.
The Group reiterates its call for the upgrade of the Committee of Experts in Tax Matters to a UN intergovernmental body, as there is still no single global forum for tax cooperation at the intergovernmental level.
Public financing should be scaled up to catalyze private investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructure that will help to achieve the 2030 Agenda, with the UN system providing support to the developing countries for maintaining a pipeline of bankable projects.
The Group urges developed countries to fulfil their unmet Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments to developing countries to achieve the national target of 0.7 % of gross national income (GNI) and 0.15 to 0.20 percent of ODA/GNI for the least developed countries.
In addition, Ambassador Akram said, the Group emphasises special and differential treatment for developing countries in harnessing the developmental benefit of international trade.
“The Group remains alerted by the increase in the unilateral and protectionist measures that will not only undermine the multilateral trading system, but also will lead to a negative impact on access of the developing countries’ exports to the global markets, the G-77 chairman said.
States are strongly urged to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the U.N. Charter that impede the full achievement of economic and social development.
While appreciating the historic allocation of $650 billion SDRs (Special Drawing Rights), the Pakistani envoy said, “We encourage countries with strong external positions to voluntary channel at least $250 billion SDRs to all developing countries in need.”
“We, therefore, call upon the developed countries to honour their commitment and provide financial resources of at least USD 100 billion per year to assist developing countries in their climate change actions with at least half allocated to adaptation,” he added.