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Stolen assets of developing nations must be returned: FM Qureshi

Developing nations need financial aid to recover from pandemic: FM. (Source: APP)

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday asserted that the stolen assets of developing countries must be returned without delay and obfuscation.

“One critical issue is the illicit outflow of trillions of dollars from the developing countries, draining their ability to achieve sustained growth and development,” Qureshi said while virtually delivering a statement at the United Nations during the handover ceremony for the chair of the G77 and China.

He stressed on the need to adopt new instruments on money laundering and tax cooperation, and establish a UN body to monitor, halt, and reverse illicit financial flows, as recommended by the FACTI Panel.  

The foreign minister pointed out that developing countries needed financial support to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and achieve sustainable development goals. “A herculean global effort will be needed to enable the developing countries to recover and move back to the path of achieving the SDGs within the targeted timelines,” he added.

“The developing countries need the financial support of at least $4.3 trillion to do so,” the minister highlighted, adding, “Today, the world is facing a triple crisis – the Covid-19 pandemic; the related economic downturn; and the threat posed by climate change.”

He continued, “We are still battling a vicious virus which has taken a massive human, economic, social and psychological toll. Our group had warned that if all the world’s people, including those in the developing countries, were not rapidly vaccinated, the virus would roam and return.”

FM Qureshi added: “Due to vaccine inequity, this is what we are witnessing. It is why we are meeting virtually today. The lesson must be learnt. Vaccine production and universal distribution, and reinforced health systems, are the best response to the mutating Covid-19 virus and to ending this pandemic.”

The pandemic, he went on to say, had affected the developing countries disproportionately. “Both because of weak health systems and meagre resources, millions in our countries had suffered enormously and mostly in silence.”

He said, “Apart from lost lives, over 150 million have been pushed into extreme poverty. More than two score developing countries are in debt distress. A few have already defaulted. Over twenty countries are food insecure. Famine stalks some, especially in conflict zones in Africa and in Afghanistan.”

The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 had been set back by at least a decade, he said adding these resources must be mobilised from all possible sources: debt restructuring; fulfilment of the 0.7 per cent ODA target; redistribution of the $650 billion new SDRs; and larger concessional finance from the IMF and the multilateral development banks.

“Developing countries cannot recover if their budgets are further constrained by austerity packages, imposed increases in energy prices, and weakening of their currencies. No country must be prevented from serving its people, he added.

He underlined the need to address the structural and underlying causes of underdevelopment and growing inequality. He congratulated the Foreign Minister of Guinea Dr Morissanda Kouyate on successfully leading the group of 77 and China during the last year.

He also thanked the 134 members of the group for reposing their trust in Pakistan to chair the group of 77 and China in these challenging times.

 

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