UNITED NATIONS – Ambassadors from more than 22 countries, representing developing and developed countries from all regions, held a first round of consultations on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative for the Global Initiative for Debt Reduction at their virtual meeting in New York on Monday, according to diplomat.
Senior UN officials, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also participated in the meeting, which was chaired by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram.
Last month, the prime minister appealed to the international community, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and international financial institutions to “launch an initiative to provide debt relief to developing countries” to assist in their fight against the new coronavirus pandemic.
Monday’s meeting was also addressed by the President of the UN General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, and UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed.
In his remarks at the meeting, read by Ambassador Akram, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, stressed the need to overcome the debt difficulties of many developing countries, which could potentially be a debt crisis.
He said that without international support, many developing countries would not have the fiscal space to respond to the current health and economic crisis.
The foreign minister hopes that informal consultations will develop agreements on several meaningful steps and practical actions to enable developing countries to recover faster and better from the current crisis and achieve sustainable development.
Thanking Pakistan for holding consultations and welcoming Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative, the president of the General Assembly called for a swift move on debt and soft finance to support the most vulnerable people around the world.
“We must also review our financial architecture, which has a long and clear gap. We must try to make our country’s debt system fairer and more effective in resolving the debt crisis, and encourage more responsible lending and lending,” Muhammad-Bande added. .
“Such progress can only occur with political will and strong international cooperation and I call on Member States to help ensure critical liquidity in many developing countries that suffer from heavy debt burdens,” the president continued.
“Initiatives to release the initial debt of the G20, the World Bank, the IMF and also from Member States – such as the Prime Minister of Pakistan – are welcome. We must not leave anyone in this time of crisis.”
Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary general, underlined the need for the international community to tackle the debt challenges of developing countries in a sustainable manner.
“For a large number of countries, this will only be possible with some form of debt relief. Solutions can be found if we can mobilize the political will to do so,” he said, adding that the 2030 global development agenda depended on it.
During the consultation, diplomats said several proposals to address debt problems were presented. Ambassador Akram said another meeting would be held in the near future to explore agreements on several actions.
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