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The head of the UN criticizes the treatment of poor countries by rich countries – World IV News

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DOHA: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday criticized the world’s rich nations and energy giants for constraining poor nations with “predatory” interest rates and crippling fuel prices.

Speaking in the Qatari capital of Doha, Guterres told leaders of more than 40 of the world’s poorest nations that rich nations should contribute $500 billion a year to help others “trapped in vicious circles” that are hindering efforts to promote economy and essential services. The Least Developed Countries (LDC) is normally held every 10 years, but has been postponed twice since 2021 due to the corona virus.

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Afghanistan and Myanmar, two of the poorest countries, are not present at the Doha meeting of 46 LDCs because their governments are not recognized by UN member states.

No leader from any of the world’s major economies attended. At a summit ahead of the start of the LDC General Conference on Sunday, Guterres immediately hit out at how poor nations are treated by the more powerful. “Economic development is challenging when countries are starved of resources, drowning in debt and still grappling with the historic injustices of uneven COVID-19 responses,” he said.

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The LDCs have complained that they did not receive their fair share of the Covid vaccine which went mainly to Europe and North America.

“Fighting climate disasters that you did nothing to cause is challenging when the financial costs are sky high” and the financial aid you received “is a drop in the bucket,” Guterres said.

“Fossil fuel giants amass enormous profits while millions in your countries cannot put food on the table.”

Guterres said the poorest nations were being left behind in the “digital revolution” and the war in Ukraine had pushed up their food and fuel prices.

“Our international financial system was designed by rich countries, largely for their benefit,” he said.

“They are deprived of liquidity and many of you are locked out of capital markets because of predatory interest rates,” the UN leader said.

A number of presidents and ministers hit out at funding conditions for the LDCs, whose debt has more than quadrupled in a decade to an estimated $50 billion by 2021.

East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta said the interest rates were “extremist” and “insensitive”.

Summit chairman Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera pointed to “broken promises” and said aid was not an “act of charity” but a “moral responsibility”.

Rich nations had failed to keep their pledge to give 0.15-0.20 percent of their gross national income to LDCs, the UN chief said.

With poorer nations caught in a “perfect storm to perpetuate poverty and injustice,” Guterres said LDCs needed a “minimum” of $500 billion a year to overcome their problems, build job-creating industries and pay down debt.

He added that the United Nations would also “continue to press” richer countries to hand over hundreds of billions of dollars pledged specifically to help poorer nations fight climate change.

According to the proposals, the so-called Doha Action Plan, a food supply system, will be established to help countries struggling with hunger crises due to drought and high prices.

It also calls for new measures to help LDCs attract foreign financing and lower interest rates to reduce the impact of their debt.

Bhutan will this year become one of seven countries – along with Bangladesh, Laos, Nepal, Angola, Sao Tome and Principe and the Solomon Islands – to “graduate” from LDC status in 2026.


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