Pakistan seeks support for middle-income countries to achieve SDGs

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03rd Jul, 2021. 04:17 pm
Pakistan seeks support for middle-income countries to achieve SDGs

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called for urgent international support to enable the middle-income countries to deal with the challenges that are obstructing them in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The time is now for the UN Development System, the international community, the global economic ecosystem and the private sector to come together in support of the efforts of [the] middle-income countries,” Acting Pakistan Permanent Representative to the UN Aamir Khan told a high-level meeting on the situation of such countries.

The meeting, convened by United Nations General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, was held under the theme “Fine-tuning the development system approach to address the needs of MICs [middle-income countries]”.

Noting that the middle-income countries are home to almost 70 per cent of the global poor, the Pakistani envoy said, many of them have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Crippling debt, global economic inequalities and vulnerability to the effects of climate change and natural disasters, stunt prospects for growth in the lower echelon of the middle income countries, he added.

“If we are to build back better from the pandemic our first priority should be equitable access to the Covid-19 vaccine for all,” Khan said, adding that the Intellectual Property Rights and export controls should not prevent countries from saving lives.

Highlighting the biggest challenge lies in access to affordable and concessional financing and debt relief for these countries, he said, while the G20 countries’ Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) was welcome, more than 40 per cent of the middle-income countries have been excluded from many forms of assistance for pandemic response.

“Of those eligible, only half of the middle-income countries are participating due to the fear of downgrading by [the] credit rating agencies that might result in the loss of access to private external financing,” the Pakistani envoy added.

Clearly, he said, concessional finance, debt relief and restructuring, with the participation of all bilateral, multilateral and private creditors were required to augment efforts by these countries to overcome their multifaceted challenges.

“It is; thus, imperative that we recognise [the] multiple dimensions of the vulnerabilities of MICs [middle-income countries], in the criteria for accessing concessional resources of finance,” Khan said, and stressed that technology transfer and bridging the digital divide would be key for developing countries to leapfrog in this domain.

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