Saturday, April 1, 2023

Guterres says poor countries are being “stranded” without help from the rich

The Secretary General of the United Nations Organization (UN), António Guterres, assured this Sunday that the Least Developed Countries (LDC, for its acronym in English) are being “stranded” in the midst of the multiple world crises and are “ unable” to keep up with the nations with more resources, to whom he called for a “revolution of support”.

“The Least Developed Countries are being left stranded amid a rising tide of crisis, uncertainty, climate chaos and deep global injustice. They are unable to keep up with the dizzying pace of technological change”, said the Portuguese at the opening of the fifth conference of the Least Developed Countries, which is being held in Doha and which will last until next Thursday.

The diplomat wanted to emphasize that the global financial system is “deeply dysfunctional and unfair.”

“The interest rates of the least developed countries are up to eight times higher than those of the developed countries. And the situation is only getting worse,” he asserted.

He explained that currently a total of 25 developing economies “spend more than 20% of their public revenue not on building schools, nor on feeding the population, nor on expanding opportunities for women and girls, but exclusively on the debt payment. In some cases, payments have skyrocketed by 35%.”

Likewise, he told the rich countries that they no longer have “excuses” and “the time has come” for them to “fulfill their commitment to provide less developed countries between 0.15% and 0.20% of their gross national income in concept of of official development assistance.

For this reason, Guterres asked the richest nations for a “revolution of support” in at least three areas that are “key”.

“They need immediate help to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals. For less developed countries, these objectives represent survival: from the eradication of poverty to food, health, drinking water and sanitation”, he argued.

The second area would be to reform the global financial system and, finally, support for climate action, since the countries with the least resources produce less than 4% of the world’s greenhouse gases, but “almost seven out of every ten deaths attributed to climate-related disasters occur in these countries,” recalled Guterres.

Presidents and rulers of 33 African countries and 12 from Asia-Pacific and Haiti in the Caribbean meet five decades after the UN created the LDC category with the aim of reducing inequality and the wealth gap.

During the five days of the conference, world leaders will meet with the private sector, civil society, parliamentarians and youth to promote new ideas, garner new pledges of support and push for the fulfillment of the commitments agreed through the Program Doha Action Plan, adopted in 2022.

The conference is expected to announce specific initiatives and concrete deliverables that address the specific challenges of these resource-poor nations, although no large pledges of funds are expected.


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