UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has supported Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for a ‘Global Initiative on debt relief’ to provide debt relief for the developing countries in wake of economic meltdown generated by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a virtual news briefing, UN chief’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said, “The prime minister’s initiative is in the same spirit as the secretary-general’s own position.”
The spokesperson said, “Mr Guterres believes that debt relief must be an important part of the response to coronavirus, including immediate waivers on interest payments for 2020.”
He said the UN Chief believes that debt relief must be an important part of the COVID-19 response, including immediate waiver on interest payments for the current year. The spokesman added, it is important that the limited resources of the world’s poorest countries must be used to combat COVID-19 virus.
The spokesperson further added that the UN Secretary-General has cleared his position privately and publicly, notably in the letter he sent to the G20.
بین الاقوامی برادری، اقوام متحدہ کے سیکرٹری جنرل اور عالمی مالیاتی اداروں سے میری اپیل ہے کہ وہ کرونا کی وباء (COVID19 Pandemic) کی وجہ سے ترقی پذیر ممالک کو پیش آنے والے المیےکا مثبت انداز میں جواب دیں۔
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 12, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday appealed before the world leaders, leading financial heads and the United Nations Secretary-General for the launching of ‘Global initiative on debt relief’.
In a brief televised appeal to the international community, the prime minister juxtaposed the financial health of the developing countries especially Pakistan where the government had been striving simultaneously to avoid the spread of the deadly COVID-19 through clamping of lockdown and saving the people from death due to hunger.
The prime minister cautioned that the pandemic’s socio-economic impacts would be more consequential in the developing countries.
The proposed global initiative aimed to lay the ground for urgent debt relief to the developing countries, at their request, and without onerous conditionalities.
Imran Khan appealed the UNO for global relief fund amid COVID-19
On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had urged the world leaders, the UN Secretary-General, and heads of financial institutions across the globe to give debt relief to developing countries like Pakistan so that they could combat the deadly COVID-19 in a better way.
In this regard, the prime minister highlighted the difficulties being faced by the developing countries, particularly those burdened by heavy debt, in handling the situation.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent appeal to the UN and international lending institutions for debt relief has drawn both accolades and denigration, mostly along party lines. Even though the fallout from the recent pandemic is the focus, he raises a point with broader implications that deserves to be elevated on the global agenda.
Debt relief is not a new idea, and it has a long and sordid history, replete with blame and counter blame. But there is universal consensus on growing disparity and the threat it poses to society. This latest crisis has highlighted the expanding needs of a contracting world.
Disasters don’t just leave rubble in their wake. They also spur us to take huge progressive leaps. The two world wars of the last century were a testament to the depravity of humans, but they also galvanized our nobility and gave birth to institutions like the United Nations, and declarations like Universal Human Rights.