Emergency funding needed to help coronavirus-hit poorer countries avoid economic collapse: ECOSOC chief

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 02 (APP): The President of U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, has called for providing emergency financing for coronavirus-hit developing countries to enable them to avoid economic collapse, as he stressed the need for international cooperation at this critical stage.

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“There will be debt defaults and economic collapse in several countries, causing massive human suffering unless the world acts now,” he told a joint high-level meeting of the General Assembly and ECOSOC  to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development.

The Summit, held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in March 1995, saw world leaders agree that economic growth and social development must be balanced.

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That balanced approach had become progressively reflected in international and national policies, Ambassador Akram said, adding that the past 25 years had witnessed reduction of poverty, higher education standards, employment growth, rising incomes, and longer lives for hundreds of millions of the world’s population.

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But, he said, the COVID-19 health and economic crisis had dealt a significant blow of the aim of the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with the world is witnessing the deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The global economy was projected to contract by up to 5% resulting in the loss of over 300 million jobs and almost a 100 million people pushed back into extreme poverty.

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“As usual,” the ECOSOC chief said, ” the poorest countries and the poorest and most vulnerable people will suffer the most”.  While the richer nations have injected $13 trillion to stimulate their economies,  the developing countries are struggling to find even a fraction of the $2.5 trillion required to recover from the pandemic.

In this context, Ambassador Akram called for ensuring that a vaccine against coronavirus becomes available to all, saying “No one will be safe until the virus is controlled globally.”

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“We must provide emergency financing – through public and private sector debt relief and restructuring and additional liquidity through new and redistributed Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) – to developing countries to enable them to avoid economic collapse,” he said.

The ECOSOC chief also called for making the world’s financial, trade and technology regimes more fair and equal.

“Unless the poorer countries are helped to control COVID and revive economic growth, the world will be unable to overcome the triple challenge it confronts: the virus, the recession and the existential threat posed by climate change.”

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