Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has put public health systems and economies under stress, severely impacting people’s lives and livelihoods.
Addressing a virtual High-level Meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond on behalf of the Group of the 32 Landlocked Developing Countries today, Prime Minister Oli lauded the initiative taken by Governments of Canada and Jamaica as well as the United Nations Secretary-General for convening the High-level meeting.
“We welcome the timely initiative for coordinated and multilateral efforts on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond launched on 28th May 2020,” he said.
While the developed countries have undertaken the unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy measures to save their economies from the crisis, the policy response in many developing countries, especially in the most vulnerable like LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS have been weaker because of decline in trade and tourism earnings, reduced FDI, and servicing of external debts amid plunging foreign exchange inflows.
The Prime Minister shared that he, on behalf of the LLDC group, wished to extend support to the options outlined in the documents and, in particular, call for the concerted actions. “We urgently need the suggested global coordination and cooperation mechanism for joint trade and investment promotion for crisis-relief. Such mechanism should give priority to the special needs of the LLDCs that require capacity development to harness trade, achieve structural economic transformation and to realize the SDGs,” Oli said.
Prime Minister Oli further said that financial support to LLDCs is critical to boost up the urgently needed resilient infrastructure and trade facilitation mechanisms for smooth flow of goods which are key to their recovery, saying LLDCs need to be supported in their efforts to achieve digital transformation. Similarly, he said, “We call on the international community to support development of strong and resilient health systems, underpinned by universal health coverage, that focus on equitable access, quality and financial protection, and easy and affordable access to vaccines once they are released.”
Concrete support measures should be put in place to address debt vulnerabilities including through debt cancellation for highly indebted countries, debt relief by international creditors, exchange or reprofile debt to reduce debt service, writing-off debt, debt swaps for highly indebted countries, debt buy-backs and support market access, added PM Oli.
He further said “We call on our development partners to maintain current official development assistance levels given its crucial importance to support our countries to recover sustainably. Among the LLDCs, the financial gap to implement the SDGs appears more acute in the LDCs. They need predictable external support measures in the form of aid, investment, technology innovation, development and transfer.”
Prime Minister Oli called on International Financial Institutions to prioritize the special needs of the LLDCs in their recovery efforts, requesting the UN system and other international and regional organizations to give priority support to the LLDCs’ recovery efforts – including the effective execution of Roadmap for accelerated implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action. “We call on the private sector to actively engage in the recovery efforts, particularly in sustainable development projects, including through the PPPs.”
In his statement, Prime Minister Oli reiterated the unfailing support of the LLDC Member States in implementing the global development agenda.