Middle-income small island states urgently need debt relief, Secretary-General says in address to G20 finance ministers and central bank governors – World



SG / SM / 20819

Here are the remarks by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, prepared for delivery, at the third meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) of finance ministers and central bank governors, held today:

We are now in the second year of a global pandemic that has killed 4 million people. Extreme weather events regularly devastate vulnerable communities. You have come together to determine the evolution of some of the most pressing issues facing us: access to vaccines; extend an economic lifeline to the developing world; and more and better public funding for ambitious climate action.

A global vaccine shortage threatens us all because, as the virus mutates, it could become even more transmissible, or even more deadly. Pledges of doses and funds are welcome, but they are not enough. We need at least 11 billion doses to immunize 70% of the world and end this pandemic. The world needs a global immunization plan, to at least double vaccine production and ensure equitable distribution, using COVAX as a platform.

To achieve this plan, I call for an emergency task force that brings together countries that produce and can produce vaccines, the World Health Organization, GAVI and international financial institutions capable of dealing with pharmaceutical companies and the manufacturers concerned. The G20 is in the best position to lead the world in preparing and implementing such a plan. Right now, it is important to support the $ 50 billion investment roadmap, which will be led by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Solidarity does not stop there. Many developing countries are on the verge of default. They need an economic lifeline. They face significant funding constraints, limited in many cases by interest payments and limited opportunities to raise taxes. Eight in ten of the “new poor” are in middle-income countries, which currently remain ineligible for debt relief programs.

Solidarity demands that advanced economies funnel unused Special Drawing Rights into the new Resilience and Sustainability Trust to support developing countries. Special drawing rights should also be seen as additional financing, not deducted from official development assistance (ODA). I hope the G20 will expand debt initiatives to include vulnerable middle-income countries and small island developing states, and fully operationalize the Common Framework as the basis for a reformed and more equitable international debt architecture. .

Strengthening the financial architecture is also essential to tackle climate change. We are still struggling to keep the global temperature rise at the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 ° C. At 1.2 ° C, we are on the edge of the abyss. For COP26 in Glasgow to be a turning point, we need all G20 countries to commit to reaching net zero [carbon emissions] by mid-century, and present nationally determined contributions to reduce global emissions by 45% by 2030, from 2010 levels.

Developing countries also need to be assured that their ambition will be met with financial and technical support. I am deeply concerned about the lack of progress on public climate finance. Twelve years ago, in 2009, developed countries agreed to mobilize $ 100 billion per year from public and private sources for mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries by 2020. They have reiterated this commitment in Paris.

One hundred billion dollars is the bare minimum. But, the agreement was not kept. A clear plan to fulfill this commitment is not just about the economics of climate change; it is about building trust in the multilateral system. Solidarity starts with the $ 100 billion. It is expected to extend to the allocation of 50 percent of all climate finance to adaptation. Development banks have a critical role to play, helping developing countries switch from coal, oil and gas to renewables by creating green jobs and reducing inequalities.

While public funding is essential, large-scale private funding is also essential. It now seems possible, for the first time. More than 160 financial companies, responsible for $ 70 trillion in assets, have joined the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero. To strengthen these efforts, the G20 must define ambitious, clear and credible climate policies, and ensure that the private sector has the framework it needs through mandatory climate-related financial disclosures. And we need all financiers not to commit to any new international funding for coal by the end of 2021.

To restore confidence in multilateralism, we need to deliver vaccines, economic recovery and climate finance. With your leadership and political will, we can do it.

For news media. Not an official record.


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