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Pakistan unveils steps to counter economic challenges facing developing countries

On behalf of G77 and China, Ambassador Munir Akram, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, said many governments in developing countries are forced to make hard choices of choosing between investing in people, saving their lives, or repaying their debt by cutting down on development budgets.

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Pakistan speaking for the Group of 77 (developing countries) and China, has underscored the need for addressing the challenges of recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, financing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), fighting poverty, and combating the impacts of climate change that have adversely impacted the poorest nations.

Since Pakistan is the current chairman of G-77 and China, Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, delivered the statement on behalf of G77 and China to the UN General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

“High inflation, growing food insecurity, unsustainable debt burden, disruption in supply chains, currency fluctuations, increased borrowing costs, and unilateral coercive measures that were not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations were examples of various issues faced by the developing world today,” Ambassador Munir Akram said.

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“Regrettably these cascading crises have compelled many governments in developing countries to make hard choices of choosing between investing in people, saving their lives or repaying their debt and cutting down on development budgets,” he added.

Solutions to economic challenges

While referring to the crisis of liquidity and pandemic of inequality, Ambassador Munir Akram said that extreme poverty was on the rise; the number of undernourished and hungry had grown, with the rich getting richer, and the poor becoming poorer.

“Global wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few – 26 richest people own half the world’s wealth,” Ambassador Akram said.

Therefore, in order to address current challenges and promote structural reforms, the G-77 chairman proposed the following:

— Immediate expansion of concessional financing by the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), reduction of borrowing costs for developing countries, and allocation of $500 billion in new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs);

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— Urgent mobilization of at least $1 trillion annually for investment in sustainable infrastructure (inter-alia energy, transport, housing, industry, agriculture, trade facilitation) for developing countries to boost the achievement of the SDGs in the remaining decade of action;

— Fulfillment by the developed countries of their pledge of $100 billion annually towards climate finance and to at least double climate finance towards adaptation;

— Ensuring preferential trade access for developing countries and promoting export-led growth as an effective way to achieve the SDGs;

— Establishment of a fair tax regime to be inclusively developed through an intergovernmental process;

— Giving developing countries due share in all economic decision-making bodies, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) contributions-based quota system must take into account the development needs of the developing countries, and,

— Digital technologies must help bridge the digital gap, with preferential access given to developing countries to modern and digital technologies.

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