UN chief to seek ‘debt swaps’ for Pakistan | The Express Tribune


CARACHI:

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the UN would strongly advocate for “debt swaps” with the IMF and World Bank through which developing countries like Pakistan, instead of pay debt to foreign creditors, will be able to use this money to invest in climate resilience, investments in sustainable infrastructure and the green transition of their economies.

He said: “We will continue to advocate vigorously for these solutions in the meetings with the IMF and the World Bank, which will take place shortly. And also at the G-20 meeting.

He said this during a conversation with reporters upon his arrival at Karachi airport on Saturday. PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Federal Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah also attended the occasion.

The UN chief said he had advocated strongly for what they might call “debt swaps” and that was exactly what Pakistan needed. “Instead of paying debts, being able to invest that money in what the country needs,” he said.

António Guterres called on the international community to step up its support for Pakistan affected by the floods.

“We see here in Pakistan, nature is fighting back with devastating consequences. I have seen many disasters around the world but I have never seen climate carnage on this scale,” he added.

“I simply have no words to describe what I saw today,” the UN chief said.

He added that families had lost their homes and farmers had lost their crops and livestock.

“The most moving moment for me during this visit was listening to a group of women and men who had sacrificed their possessions so that there could be a possibility of rescue,” he said.

Read also : “Unimaginable” floods, according to the SGNU during its visit to Sukkur

The UN Secretary General added: “The poor have touched me deeply. I want to pay tribute to the gigantic efforts of the Pakistani authorities, civil and military, national and regional.

Massive and urgent financial support for Pakistan was the need of the hour, he said, adding that it is not a matter of solidarity, generosity, but it is a matter of justice.

Pakistan is paying the price for what I have seen, created by others. Climate change caused by human activities is fueling storms and disasters, he added.

The UN chief said the burning of fossil fuels is eating up our planet. G-20 countries are responsible for 80% of emissions.

He said all countries with the G-20 in the lead must increase their national emission reduction targets each year until the 1.5 degree Celsius temperature limit is guaranteed.

“I have asked very clearly that the world seriously adopt a deep aid program for developing countries, including middle-income countries like Pakistan which are on the verge of an extremely difficult financial situation.”

Read also : UNSG visits Mohenjo Daro and provides conservation support

It is absolutely essential to create a new mechanism, he stressed. Guterres said rich countries must step up funding for adaptation.

PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said, “We are all extremely saddened.

He said September was the busiest month for the UN chief with the UN General Assembly to be held later this month.

“The Secretary-General took the time to personally visit Pakistan during this difficult time and witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by the catastrophic monsoon rains that we have faced for many months.”

Bilawal said the UN chief had spent the day before in Islamabad, receiving briefings from the national flood response centre. And today with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif “we accompanied the Secretary General to visit the flood affected areas of Balochistan, where he met with flood affected people and then he visited the flood affected areas. floods in Sindh”.

He also visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mohenjo Daro, which unfortunately was also damaged by the monsoon rains.

The people of Pakistan were paying a heavy price in the form of their lives and livelihoods, the PPP chairman said.

Bilawal said the people of Pakistan contribute less than 1% to the global carbon footprint. He said the response to this crisis must be a global response.

With the help of the UN chief, we look forward to working with the global community to better build, rehabilitate and rebuild the lives of our people, he added.

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