PM seeks global roadmap to tackle Covid-19 crisis

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday underscored the need for a well-coordinated global roadmap to face Covid-19 crisis and urged the United Nations to continue to play its catalytic role in this regard.


“We need a well-coordinated roadmap to face Covid-19 crisis. The 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda can be our blueprint to overcome this crisis. The UN must continue to play its catalytic role in this regard,” she said.


The Prime Minister said this while delivering her pre-recorded speech in the ‘High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of Covid-19 and Beyond’ held at the UN Headquarters.


Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Michael Holness, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres convened the meeting.


Sheikh Hasina highlighted six points before the world leaders to have a better coordinated roadmap to face the Covid-19 crisis.


Firstly, she said, the G-7, G-20, OECD countries, MDBs, and IFIs should scale up fiscal stimulus, concessional finance, and debt relief measures. The advanced economies must fulfill their 0.7 percent ODA commitment.


“Secondly, we need to divert more private finance and investment to the developing countries. We must leverage science, technology and innovation for closing the digital divide.”


Thirdly, she said, right policy steps needed for reversing the downward trend of remittance flow by helping the migrant workers during and in the post-Covid job market.


Fourthly, the Prime Minister said, the advanced economies must fulfill their unmet promises regarding duty- and quota-free market access, technology support, and more accessible financing for developing countries.


Fifthly, she said, there must be new international support measures for the graduating LDCs to prevent any possible slide back due to the pandemic, at least till 2030.


“Finally, more vigorous efforts are required to finance climate actions and resilient recovery,” Hasina said.


In Bangladesh, she said, Covid-19 has had a drastic impact on its economy. “For tackling this situation, we immediately announced a 13.25 billion-dollar stimulus package, equivalent to 4.03 percent of our GDP,” she added.


Apart from widening the regular social-safety net programmes, the government provided financial support to more than 30 million people, including farmers, labourers, students, teachers, artistes and journalists, during this pandemic, she said.


Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank Group president David Malpass also spoke at the programme.


On May 28, 2020, Canada, Jamaica and the UN Secretary-General convened a High-Level Event to join forces with Heads of State and Government, international organizations, and other key partners to enable discussions of concrete financing solutions to the COVID-19 health and development emergency for everyone, according to the UN website.


In follow-up to the High-Level Event on May 28th, six Discussion Groups were convened to address questions of external finance and remittances, jobs and inclusive growth; recovering better for sustainability; global liquidity and financial stability; debt vulnerability; private sector creditors’ engagement; and illicit financial flows.


The result is a single, ambitious menu of options addressing policies for short, medium and long terms, supported by a set of six executive summaries containing key highlights of each Discussion Group.


This package fully reflects the variety of needs and views of various stakeholders and, above all, those of Member States.


The menu of policy options has been distilled further to reflect on views expressed by Ministers of Finance from all continents received during a High-Level Meeting on 8th September. The menu of policy options is not a negotiated document and reflects a wide array of perspectives and priorities.


To take stock and consider bold choices that now need to be made to secure our common future, Canada, Jamaica and the Secretary-General are convening a follow-up Meeting of Heads of State and Government on September 29, 2020.


The overall objective of the meeting is to consider the menu of policy options developed over the last four months with the ambition of supporting Member States in responding and recovering from the current global crisis.


It said the Covid-19 pandemic and the social and economic crisis it triggered has not only caused immeasurable suffering in the past six months but could also derail five years of global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


In some parts of the world, the pandemic is fast turning into a humanitarian crisis, threatening to push the entire population into a state of acute food deprivation and endangering the lives of millions of women, men and children.


The pandemic is expected to drive between 71 and 100 million people into extreme poverty, the first such increase since 1998. With progress on SDG 2 (zero hunger) already backsliding before the onset of Covid-19, an estimated additional 270 million people could face acute food shortages by the end of 2020.


Meanwhile, 400 million jobs worldwide were lost in the second quarter of 2020 relative to the last quarter of 2019.


This has served to reinforce and further widen economic inequalities, disproportionately impacting developing countries and vulnerable groups.


While many developed countries have been able to finance robust counter-cyclical fiscal responses to the crisis, developing countries, which face higher interest rates and service fees, are either struggling to service their debts or are directing finance that could be used to support health and social sectors towards paying back debts.


Of the $11 trillion global fiscal response that has been implemented so far, 88 per cent of this has been disbursed by high-income countries, while 2.5 percent has been disbursed by emerging and developing economies.


Source: United News of Bangladesh