PM presents 10-point agenda for recovery from pandemic

Published December 4, 2020
In this image made from UNTV video, Prime Minister Imran Khan in a pre-recorded message which was played during the UN General Assembly's special session to discuss the response to Covid-19  on Dec 3.  — AP
In this image made from UNTV video, Prime Minister Imran Khan in a pre-recorded message which was played during the UN General Assembly's special session to discuss the response to Covid-19 on Dec 3. — AP

UNITED NATIONS: Prime Minister Imran Khan presented a 10-point agenda for urgent action before the UN General Assembly on Thursday, underlining the measures the international community needs to take to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first item on his list is a request for debt suspension till the end of the pandemic for low-income and most affected countries.

The second one is the suggested “cancellation of debt of least developed countries” that are no longer in a position to repay their loans.

Other items on the agenda include: restructuring of the public sector debt of other developing countries under an agreed inclusive multilateral framework; a general allocation of special drawing rights of $500 billion; expanded concessional financing to lower income countries through multilateral development banks; and creation of a new ‘liquidity and sustainability facility’, which should provide short-term loans at lower costs.

The agenda also includes a reminder to rich nations to fulfill 0.7 per cent of their official development assistance commitments and mobilising the required $1.5 trillion annual investment in sustainable infrastructure.

The prime minister also urged the international community to help meet the agreed target of mobilizing $100 billion per year for climate action in developing countries.

He also called for immediate action to stop the massive illicit financial outflows from developing countries to rich countries, to offshore tax havens.

Mr Khan also suggested immediate return of assets stolen by corrupt politicians and criminals back to these countries.

The UN General Assembly held a special session on the Covid-19 pandemic on Thursday, as proposed by President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, chairman of the non-aligned movement.

Addressing the session, Prime Minister Khan described the Covid-19 pandemic as “the most serious global crisis since the Second World War”.

The virus has infected nearly 65 million people and killed close to 1.5 million.

“Today marks an overdue and much-needed moment of reckoning. None of us could have imagined, this time last year, what was to come,” said the General Assembly’s president, Volkan Bozkir, while opening the two-day gathering.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that “it is time to reset”, the global response to crises like this. “As we build a strong recovery, we must seize the opportunity for change,” he added.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2020

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