ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan says the COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious global crisis since the second world war.
He expressed this belief on Friday to world leaders at a two-day special session by the United Nations General Assembly to discuss a united path of recovery from the pandemic.
It will be addressed by 141 speakers, including 53 heads of state, 39 heads of government, four deputy prime ministers and 38 ministers through pre-recorded videos.
The premier was giving a virtual address, in which he highlighted a 10-point agenda to avoid developing countries from having an economic collapse because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This agenda highlighted the need for debt suspension, drawing rights of $500 billion and return of stolen assets stashed in rich countries.
The 10-point agenda of Prime Minister Imran Khan
- Debt suspension for low income and most stressed countries till the pandemic ends.
- Cancellation of debt for developed countries.
- 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.
- Creation of a new ‘liquidity and sustainability facility’ to provide short term loans at lower costs.
- Fulfilment of the 0.7 % official development assistance commitments.
- Mobilising the required $1.5 trillion annual investment in sustainable infrastructure.
- Achievement of the agreed target of mobilising $100 billion per year for climate action in developing countries.
- Immediate action to stop the massive illicit financial outflows from developing countries to rich countries, to offshore tax havens and at the same time, immediate return of their assets stolen by corrupt politicians and criminals back to these countries.
‘100 million people in developing countries will fall back into extreme poverty’
The premier said it is expected that nearly 100 million people in developing countries will fall back into extreme poverty, while rich countries had injected $13 trillion as fiscal stimulus to revive their economies.
He spoke about the need for an emergency plan for financial support to developing countries. He said the pandemic caused immense human suffering and created the deepest global economic contraction since the great depression of the 1930s.
“Developing countries just do not have the resources to afford such a massive economic stimulus … They are struggling to find even a fraction of the $2-3 trillion they require to recover from the pandemic,” he said, asking the international community to identify and implement some key priority actions to avoid an economic crisis.
He assured the UNGA president that his 10-point solution will benefit poor countries more than all other measures put together.
The virus has infected nearly 65 million people so far and killed close to 1.5 million and the poorest countries and the poor are suffering the most, he said, expressing the hope that whenever a vaccine is available, it would be offered to everyone.