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Imran presents 5-point agenda to UN, highlights debt relief, Covid supplies

Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed the need for further debt relief and the importance of an equitable supply of Covid-19 to developing countries while presenting his 5-point agenda to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Monday.

As the keynote speaker at the fourth session of the UNCTAD, PM Imran observed that developing countries were “trapped between recovering from the pandemic and meeting their debt servicing obligations”.

The premier proposed a general allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of $500 billion to help alleviate balance-of-payment pressures and further underscored that the expansion of concessional financing through multilateral development banks was also of the utmost importance.

He suggested that, in light of the economic and financial burden created by Covid-19, debt relief for developing countries be extended till the pandemic ended and “restructuring of the public sector debt under an agreed and inclusive multilateral framework”.

“The world today is grappling with a series of interlinked and unprecedented public health and economic crises. While the coronavirus does not discriminate between the rich and the poor, the most vulnerable people and countries have suffered the most,” he said, adding that there are millions of people around the world at risk of falling below the poverty line.

Moreover, he said that coverage of the COVAX facility must be expanded. “This would enable the developing countries to spend their precious resources on socio-economic development needs,” he explained.

“The pandemic also offers an opportunity to address the structural barriers hampering global prosperity and development,” the premier said during his address.

Terming the economic malaise and recession “highly communicable” like the coronavirus, PM Imran Khan said the global policy measures, along his proposed lines, were urgently needed to save lives, revive economies, and build back better.

PM Imran reiterated his decades old stance on illicit financial flows as well as the return of stolen assets, which he stated had “caused more poverty in the world than any other factor”.

“Reportedly, a staggering amount of 7 trillion dollars is parked in ‘haven’ destinations. And it is also reported that one trillion dollars annually leave the developing countries for these ‘haven’ destinations,” he said on the occasion.

Moving on to the issue of climate change, the premier called the global community to meet its target of $100 billion in order to combat the environmental impact.

He thanked the UNCTAD Secretary-General (SG) for organising the ‘extremely important’ session and said the world was grappling with a series of interlinked and unprecedented public health and economic crises.

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