UNITED NATIONS: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif encouraged the international community to remain involved with Pakistan as it deals with this massive humanitarian disaster on Tuesday. In addition to drowning in floodwater, Pakistan is also drowning in debt, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Paris promised to organize an international conference before the end of the year to assist Islamabad in rebuilding in a climate-resilient manner. In the meanwhile, Pakistan and France agreed to develop ways and means to support efforts to face the challenge presented by the floods.
In a powerful speech to world leaders assembled for the first day of the high-level debate at the General Assembly, the UN president said, “I recently saw it with my own eyes in Pakistan — where one-third of the nation is drowned by a monsoon on steroids’.”
Mr. Guterres reiterated the plea he originally made during his recent trip to Pakistan, during which he urged lenders to take debt reduction into consideration in order to assist those countries that might be about to experience an economic collapse. At the UNGA, he reiterated, “Creditors should take into account debt reduction tools such debt-climate adaption swaps.”
These may have helped Pakistan, which is drowning in debt as well as floodwater, preserve lives and livelihoods. The head of the UN pleaded with the creditors to establish “an effective mechanism of debt relief for developing countries, particularly middle-income countries, in debt trouble.”After the Covid-19 outbreak, world leaders are physically present at the UNGA for the first time this year.
At the welcome reception that Mr. Guterres hosted, Prime Minister Sharif also spoke with Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and had private meetings with Chancellor Karl Nehammer of Austria, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon of Spain, and Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi of the Islamic Republic of Iran.