The Sustainable Development Goals in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Malaysia:
01 November 2021
Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030
The Global Plan aligns with the Stockholm Declaration, by emphasizing the importance of a holistic approach to road safety
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08 October 2021
No Denying It - The UN Climate Action Podcast
There’s no denying it - we have to tackle the climate emergency. Burning fossil fuels to get energy has to end. It's doable but it's going to take solutions in every industry, at every scale, in every nation in the world.
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30 October 2020
Decade of Action
Deliver #ForPeopleForPlanet. We have 10 years to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. The year 2020 kicks off a reaffirmation of the 2030 Agenda. Demonstrate action through ambition, mobilization and game-changing outcomes for people and for the planet.
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30 November 2021
Gender and Health Hub Annual Forum
Read the original page here Join us for a special interactive, online event! The Gender and Health Hub Annual Forum, which runs across three days, from 7th – 9th December, aims to reflect on the last year and set priorities for the coming year. It aims to celebrate the growing multistakeholder global Hub community and spotlight key achievements, initiatives, and actors while also establishing next steps and new partnerships for 2022. About the Event The UNU Gender and Health Hub (GHH) was established with the aim to bridge the gap between people, evidence, policy, and action and contribute to more evidence-based and better-resourced integration of gender in health policies and programmes. Launched at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW) in March 2021, GHH has focused on convening technical expertise with political leadership and consolidating evidence-based solutions to encourage concrete commitments to turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity for gender equality in health. Over the next year, GHH will continue to develop and engage its growing global network of policymakers, researchers, practitioners and thought leaders with the aim to build on efforts to improve the evidence base on what has worked in the past and translate that evidence and practice-based learning into collective action and concrete commitments for the future. Register here.
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26 November 2021
Forum: Human Rights Day 2021
REGISTER FOR ZOOM LINK HERE: https://tinyurl.com/544xjzd8 WATCH ON YOUTUBE LIVE HERE: https://youtu.be/z0U5f-XRWEE Background Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) - a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. The formal inception of Human Rights Day started since 1950, when the Assembly passed Resolution 423 (V) inviting all States and interested organizations to adopt 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day. Drafted by representatives of diverse legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. Together with States' commitments to its principles, the Declaration has uplifted the dignity of millions and laid the foundation for a more just world. Decades later in 2015, when United Nations Member States unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, human rights and development are placed at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) agenda. Human Rights are driven by progress on all SDGs, and the SDGs are driven by advancements on human rights. Theme According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 24% of all global deaths, roughly 13.7 million deaths a year, are linked to the environment, due to risks such as air pollution and chemical exposure. Undoubtedly, environmental degradation, climate change and unsustainable development constitute some of the most pressing and serious threats to the ability of present and future generations to enjoy human rights, including the right to life, and the rights to health, development, housing, water and food. The human rights implications of environmental damage are most acutely felt by those segments of the population that are already in vulnerable situations, including indigenous peoples, older persons, persons with disabilities, as well as women and girls. To this end, the passing of resolution 48/13 by the United Nations Human Rights Council at its 48th Session in October 2021, was lauded by all stakeholders. For the first time, having a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is recognised as a human right. Resolution 48/13 called on States around the world to build capacities, share good practices and work together with other partners; to implement this newly recognised right. It also noted that the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is related to other rights that are in accordance with existing international law, such as the Paris Agreement 2015; Minamata Convention 2013; Stockholm Convention 2001; Rotterdam Convention 1998; Convention on Biological Diversity 1992 and Ramsar Convention 1971, among others. At the same time, through a second related Resolution (48/14), the Council established a Special Rapporteur dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights globally in the context of climate change. Malaysia co-sponsored both resolutions. Malaysia’s priority in addressing climate change is part of the country’s pledges for its membership of the Human Rights Council for the term 2022-2024. It is also in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025), as unveiled by YAB Prime Minister towards a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable growth for all. To celebrate this positive development, the 2021 Human Rights Day Forum will focus on the impact of environmental degradation and climate change on the enjoyment of human rights, as well as, to explore sustainable environmental solutions. The multi-stakeholder panel session aims to bring different perspectives on the topic. Objectives The main objectives of the 2021 Human Rights Day Forum are as follows: To commemorate Human Rights Day, celebrated on 10 December annually; To promote public awareness and support for human rights, and the works of various organisations, including government departments dedicated to promoting human rights; To promote the spirit of cooperation and interaction between various stakeholders, particularly the Government, NGOs and civil society; To increase awareness on the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change on human rights. Focus Areas Based on their respective expertise and relevant experiences, the speakers may wish to address the following issues: Rights that are affected by environmental degradation and climate change; Individuals and groups most vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation; Commitments by the Government and how they are being met; Other regional and international cooperation being undertaken by the Government; Efforts undertaken by the UN and its various bodies and mechanisms; Multilateral environmental agreements – and what does Malaysia have to comply with; Roles and responsibilities of the business sector, civil society, media, academia; Impact of environmental degradation and climate change on youth, as well as their participation in decision-making and policy-making on these matters; Capacity building, technical assistance, as well as, climate financing opportunities; Best practices on addressing and mitigating the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on human rights; Sustainable solutions that protect the environment, promote human well-being and the enjoyment of human rights. Programme
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25 November 2021
KL Tower & Alor Setar Tower to light up in orange to mark the International Day for the Elimination Of Violence Against Women
Kuala Lumpur, 25 November – The Kuala Lumpur and Alor Setar skyline will have an orange glow when the iconic KL Tower and Alor Setar Tower lights up tonight from 8.00pm to 11.00pm to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW). IDEVAW falls annually on 25 November and kicks off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence which ends on 10 December. The global theme for 2021 is “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”. The lighting of the two tallest telecommunication towers in Malaysia is part of a global campaign to Orange the World and is a symbolic statement not only to rally Malaysia’s women and girls towards unifying their voices as part of the global struggle to end Violence against Women, but also a national call to action and recognition of this vital issue. Karima El Korri, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei Darussalam said, “Today, we call for stronger and firmer action to eliminate violence against women. We need innovative means to address the root causes, discriminatory laws, and biased social norms and practices that sanction violence against women. We need a whole-of society approach to ensure that violence against women is not OK: civil society organizations, religious leaders, schools, men and women in communities across the country, young people, workplaces, families, and the media to stand up together to end violence against women. We need renewed commitments by the government at national and subnational levels.” As part of the goal to end gender-based violence and all harmful practices by 2030, in line with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is supporting the lighting of both towers, as part of its renewed commitment to end violence everywhere women and girls are, one of UNFPA’s three transformative results, it being a fundamental human right of women and girls to feel safe and live free of violence in all spaces. During the coming 16 Days, the United Nations in Malaysia, with the United Nations Population Fund in the leadership role, will organize a series of activities, including two forums and a social media campaign around the core principle of Bodily Autonomy. The first forum, the Road to Justice, will be broadcast live on November 27th, and will focus on existing legislation to end and prevent violence against women. On December 11th, the UN will convene the 2nd Malaysia Women and Girls Forum around the theme: Bodily Autonomy – Ensuring Rights & Choices for Malaysia’s Women and Girls. Ms El Korri concluded, “During these 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, I urge everyone to do their part. Do engage with family, with friends, in social media. Write and talk about this pandemic. Build the momentum for policy makers and law enforcement agencies to ensure that women and girls are safe everywhere. We will light up the iconic KL tower and Alor Setar tower in orange, but every day, let us act to end violence against women and girls, not by 2030, but right now.”
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25 November 2021
International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women: Message by Karima El Korri
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. But violence against women happens every day. Women and girls around the world face fear, intimidation, threats of violence, verbal and physical abuse every day. This is not Ok! This year’s global theme is “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”, because tomorrow may be too late. Before the pandemic, 1 in 3 women worldwide were reported to have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime. The impact of the pandemic has been profound, accentuating domestic violence and threatening already weak structures of reporting, protection and support. Incidents of domestic violence increased by 30, 50 percent in some countries. School closures have contributed to a rise in child marriage. Pleas for help by women and girls drowned helplines, where they existed, as survivors found themselves confined with their abusers. In Malaysia, from March 2020 to August this year, women’s rights organizations have received up to four times more calls reporting domestic violence. And we know that these alarming figures hide many more unreported cases. This is not Ok! Today, we call for stronger and firmer action to eliminate violence against women. We need innovative means to address the root causes, discriminatory laws, and biased social norms and practices that sanction violence against women. We need a whole-of society approach to ensure that it is not OK: civil society organizations, religious leaders, schools, men and women in communities across the country, young people, workplaces, families, and the media to stand up together to end violence against women. We need renewed commitments by the government at national and subnational levels. During these 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, I urge you to do your part. Do engage with family, with friends, in social media. Write and talk about this pandemic. Build the momentum for policy makers and law enforcement agencies to ensure that women and girls are safe everywhere. The United Nations in Malaysia, with the United Nations Population Fund in the leadership role, is organizing two forums and a social media campaign around the core principle of Bodily Autonomy. The first forum, the Road to Justice, will be broadcast live on November 27th, and will focus on existing legislation to end and prevent violence against women. On December 11th, the UN will convene the 2nd Malaysia Women and Girls Forum around the theme: Bodily Autonomy – Ensuring Rights & Choices for Malaysia’s Women and Girls. On November 25th, we will light up the iconic KL tower in orange, but every day, let us act to end violence against women and girls, not by 2030, but right now. Thank you.
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19 November 2021
In focus: 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence
Visit the original page at UN Women here The United Nations is marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence from 25 November to 10 December 2021, under the global theme set by the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign: “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!” Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused in their lifetime. In times of crises, the numbers rise, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent humanitarian crises, conflicts and climate disasters. A new report from UN Women, based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, shows that 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity. Only 1 in 10 women said that victims would go to the police for help. While pervasive, gender-based violence is not inevitable. It can and must be prevented. Stopping this violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls. With survivor-centred essential services across policing, justice, health, and social sectors, and sufficient financing for the women’s rights agenda, we can end gender-based violence. The Generation Equality Forum that concluded in Paris in July set the momentum for decisive actions and investment to advance gender equality. The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, the only global grant-making mechanism dedicated to ending and preventing all forms of violence against women, has announced a special fundraising challenge, #Give25forUNTF25, marking 25 years of grant-making to support women’s organizations around the world. Learn more and take action. Download the #Orangetheworld campaign logos.
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03 July 2021
New MIT study says United Nations Pause Campaign slows spread of life-threatening misinformation
A major part of that work is the UN’s Pause campaign, which encourages people to pause to check the validity of any information they share. Now, a new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) says the Pause campaign can bring about the behavioural change needed to stop the spread of misinformation. The MIT study, conducted in the UK and the US, found that the simple act of pausing to question the origin, credibility, relevance and accuracy of any information before sharing it on phones, computers and social media platforms, significantly reduced people’s propensity to share misinformation. In the study, participants who saw Pause campaign content were notably less likely to share fake headlines. “The monumental task of tackling misinformation belongs to all of us. It is about how we can come together to drive social change, shifting behavioural norms and tapping into people’s sense of solidarity to keep each other safe,” said Melissa Fleming, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. “The MIT study shows that pausing before sharing is not only possible but also the responsible thing to do, especially in an age where it has become hard to separate the truth from the lies.” The Pause campaign, created in collaboration with Purpose, a social impact agency, is part of the wider Verified initiative launched by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in May 2020 to deliver trusted COVID-19-related medical and science information and advice, and stop the spread of misinformation. According to the World Health Organization, in the first three months of 2020 alone, nearly 6,000 people were hospitalized because of COVID-19 misinformation. The Pause campaign, which reached nearly 1 billion people in 2020, is redoubling its efforts to empower more people to share information responsibly. The new phase of the campaign asks the world to take the #PledgetoPause and flood the Internet with the pause symbol. Guided by research, the campaign is built on the premise that by interrupting, even for a few seconds, the impulse to share something we see -- an urge often fuelled by emotions such as excitement, anger, sadness, elation, and even altruism -- we allow ourselves time to think more critically. Better judgement prevails and fewer bogus claims are circulated. In the words of the UN Secretary-General: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the wrong information can be deadly. Take the pledge to pause and help stop the spread of misinformation.” ABOUT VERIFIED Verified is a United Nations initiative, in collaboration with Purpose, that aims to empower people around the world with science-based information during the Covid-19 response. Working with UN agencies, influencers, civil society, businesses, and social media platforms, Verified creates and distributes trusted, accurate information and encourages consumers to change their media consumption practices to reduce and stop the spread of misinformation online. Website: https://shareverified.com/en/ ABOUT PAUSE CAMPAIGN Launched as a part of the UN Verified initiative, the Pause Campaign draws on research from psychologists, neuroscientists and behavioural scientists whose studies indicate that pausing to reflect before sharing can significantly help to reduce the spread of unverified and misleading information. The overall campaign, which was launched a year ago, challenges people to break the habit of sharing shocking or emotive content impulsively and without questioning its accuracy. Website: https://pledgetopause.org CONTACTS UN Department of Global Communications Devi Palanivelu | firstname.lastname@example.org | +1 917 495 5424 Purpose Jennifer Minard | email@example.com | +44 787 242 7706
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15 June 2021
Strengthening Resilience and Ending Vulnerability in Small Island Developing States
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face a shared set of geographical, environmental, economic, and social challenges, and suffer from unique development needs and extreme vulnerability. Frequent exposures to natural hazards and disasters intensified by climate change and external economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are detrimental to these island nations. The Joint SDG Fund announces a call for proposals focusing on strengthening resilience and ending the vulnerabilities of SIDS to accelerate the SDGs. The overall funding envelope for this Call is US$30 million. All SIDS countries are eligible to receive funding, including countries previously funded in the Joint SDG Fund’s existing portfolios. Intended to be catalytic, funding will support targeting programmatic solutions of 2 years or less, with a budget of US$1 million per country. Multi-Country Offices will be eligible for funding envelopes corresponding to the countries and populations they serve and be reviewed on case by case basis. This Call for Proposals will support a new generation of transformative, Government-led, integrated initiatives that leverage the best expertise and resources possible to address complex problems and accelerate progress towards the SDGs. “We must work together to ensure that the [Decade of Action] delivers for Small Island Developing States. In addressing climate change, enhanced ambition and action are both a priority and a driver of the Decade . . . we need small island developing States leadership more than ever.” - United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed Governments face challenges in accessing financing for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation and funding modern and resilient social protection systems. Vulnerable groups have been proportionally hit harder by the recent economic crisis. Furthermore, the skills-gap and the impacts of COVID-19 has resulted in higher levels of youth unemployment. Sustainable growth will require economic diversification and higher participation from a skillful workforce. To prevent disasters, advance the economy and enable the public sector to deliver services to people and enterprises, access to modern innovative technologies, led by digitalization are critical. In line with the implementation of UN reform agenda, UN Joint Programmes supported by the Fund will demonstrate a new generation of collaboration for results, embedded in the UN Cooperation Frameworks and committed to enhanced national ownership, leadership, and capacities. The strength in partnerships builds resilience and reduces vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States to leave no one behind.
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07 June 2021
Media Statement by UN in Malaysia
Throughout the pandemic, the UN in Malaysia has been strongly advocating for the inclusion of migrants, refugees and undocumented persons in the COVID-19 response and the National COVID-19 Immunization Programme. These vulnerable groups should also have meaningful access to information so that they are aware of the vaccination plans and where to access the services. The public health logic in a pandemic is that nobody is safe unless everybody is safe. Furthermore, in press conferences in February and April 2021, the Government has repeated that those without documents will not be detained during vaccination. The UN commends this inclusive approach to keep the entire population safe. The UN in Malaysia has also discussed with the Government that in order to encourage undocumented people to come forward for vaccination, guarantees from repercussions such as temporary exemption or moratorium from detention and deportation are important. A crackdown on migrants during this critical public health crisis could seriously undermine the public health objective and lead to adverse results. The UN continues to offer to collaborate with the Government and other stakeholders to help ensure all individuals, regardless of legal status, are included in vaccination plans without repercussions.
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04 May 2021
Statement by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet
A free, uncensored and independent press is a cornerstone of democratic societies. It can bring life-saving information in moments of crises; provide a basis for public participation; and help ensure accountability and respect for human rights. World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to celebrate this fundamental work. Especially today, as we mark the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, in which a group of African journalists set out key principles for press freedom. The COVID-19 crisis has made it clearer that critical reporting on government policies or public figures is all too often met with prosecution. Laws adopted or applied to restrict and criminalise disinformation during the pandemic have also been used by States to target journalists. Around the world, people have increasingly taken to the streets to demand their economic and social rights, as well as an end to discrimination and systemic racism, impunity, and corruption. Journalists fulfilling their fundamental role of reporting on these social protests have intolerably become targets. Many have been victims of unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by law enforcement, arbitrary arrests, and criminal prosecution. Attacks, arrests and the criminal prosecution of a journalist has an additional chilling effect of dissuading other journalists from critically reporting on relevant issues. In this way, they impoverish public debate and hamper our ability to respond effectively to societal challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The work of journalists and media workers will be crucial for the world to recover better from the devastation of this crisis. Objective, trusted, fact-checked news will counter disinformation; help ensure resilient and sustainable solutions to current challenges; demand transparency and accountability; foster trust in institutions. Contributing to humanity’s well-being, accurate information is a public good. The silencing of a journalist is a loss to society as a whole. In order to fully celebrate the bravery of journalists in their determination to keep the public informed, we must demand that their rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.
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14 April 2021
World leaders to meet on strengthening financial measures to boost efforts to cope with COVID-19 fallout
New York, 29 March 2021—With many countries continuing to struggle to overcome the human and economic devastation from COVID-19, UN Secretary-General António Guterres is convening a meeting of world leaders on Monday, 29 March from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT to urge the international community to take additional and urgent action to ensure a robust recovery. The high-level virtual meeting organized by the Secretary-General together with the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness aims to underscore the urgency of the need for bolder and concrete action to provide liquidity and address debt vulnerability in developing countries. The meeting will follow-up on a series of meetings and roundtables held last year to mobilize action to assist the economic recovery from the pandemic that resulted in a series of measures by the international community, but still not sufficient to meet the continuing and deepening crisis that many countries face. “We are on the verge of a debt crisis. Six countries have already defaulted. One-third of emerging market economies are at high risk of fiscal crisis. And the situation is even worse for least-developed and low-income countries,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “We need now, to allocate new special drawing rights and encourage countries with strong reserve positions to reallocate unused SDRs to countries that need it; extend the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative into 2022; and expand it to include all highly indebted, vulnerable middle-income countries affected by the crisis. We also need to expand the Common Framework for Debt Treatment to other vulnerable countries and provide additional, targeted debt relief and to tackle long-standing weaknesses in the international debt architecture. Otherwise, we risk spiralling deeper into the worst recession since the Great Depression.” Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, said, “It has now been over a year since the COVID-19 global health crisis began and it has wreaked tremendous havoc on lives, livelihoods, and the global economy.” “The COVID-19-induced contraction in economic activity,” he said, “is severely impacting debt sustainability, particularly in low and middle-income countries. In addition to providing critical debt relief and liquidity support, we must create a new international debt architecture that ensures sustainability and encourages the private sector to integrate sustainability into its investment decisions to ensure a faster, stronger and more resilient recovery.” Prime Minister Holness added, “With the availability of vaccines, we are now able to see a path towards global recovery even as we note that all countries must have sufficient amounts and capacity to vaccinate their populations if we are to achieve inclusive recovery. Let us continue through robust cooperation and coordination to take deliberate actions to reverse the devastating economic effects of the pandemic as we prepare for a future of sustainable growth and development.” “The world must come together to protect people, save lives, and defeat COVID-19,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Our progress has been remarkable, but we know we can’t defeat this virus and build back better at home unless all countries have the resources to respond to and recover from this global challenge. Only through a coordinated global response, can we address the impacts of the pandemic and create jobs, economic growth, and new opportunity for our people and businesses. New United Nations policy brief on debt crisis In a new policy brief issued today, “Preventing Debt Crises in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond: The Time to Act is Now,” the Secretary-General says that while many steps taken to date have been significant, they have not been sufficient to help restore economic health. Risks remain high for more countries to tip into a debt crisis, especially if the COVID-19 shock is more protracted and deeper than forecast. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in more than 2.7 million deaths and more than 125 million confirmed cases worldwide, has gone beyond a health and humanitarian crisis to also become an unprecedented global development emergency. More than a year into the pandemic, the Secretary-General says the fiscal impacts of the crisis are triggering debt distress in a growing number of countries and is severely limiting the ability of many countries to invest in recovery and the Sustainable Development Goals, including urgently needed climate action. He said, “Unless we take decisive action on debt and liquidity, we risk another ‘lost decade’ for many developing countries, putting the SDGs definitively out of reach.” COVID-19 highlights increasingly unequal world The current economic situation has highlighted growing inequalities between and within countries that pose significant threats to global efforts to build back better. COVID-19-related economic shocks have already led credit rating agencies to downgrade the credit worthiness of 42 countries since the start of the pandemic, including six developed countries, 27 emerging market economies, and nine least developed and low-income countries. Unprecedented health, social and economic measures over the last year have helped control the spread of the deadly virus, save lives and mitigate the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic. These emergency policies succeeded in flattening the curve of contagion and saved lives, but they also resulted the first increase in extreme poverty since 1998, a 4.3% drop in global GDP and the loss of an equivalent of 144 million jobs in 2020 alone. Many countries responded with extraordinary fiscal support measures, taking advantage of low borrowing costs, with developed countries accounting for the overwhelming share, around US$18 trillion. The international community has mobilized a strong response including emergency financing from international financial institutions, support for humanitarian partners, and access to medical countermeasures such as vaccines. Many developing countries, and least developed countries, in particular, which suffered from high debt levels before the pandemic, seeing their fiscal and external financing position further deteriorate in the course of 2020, have not been able to provide much needed stimulus support in adequate measure. While some middle-income countries have returned to international bond markets since April 2020, only two countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have been able to access markets; and some countries, including least developed countries with very high refinancing needs in 2021, will not have access to financial markets at affordable rates. In addition, many of these countries have already seen access to foreign currency curtailed through non-resident capital flight, and contractions in trade, tourism, remittances and foreign direct investment. The rapid growth of financing needs and the collapse in revenues and GDP growth associated with the pandemic have exacerbated debt burden risks across the globe. More than half of the least developed and low-income countries that use the IMF World Bank Debt Sustainability Framework are now assessed at a high risk of debt distress or in debt distress and, according to some estimates, more than a third of emerging market economies are at high risk of fiscal crises. Need for debt relief Debt relief will be needed to create space for investments in recovery and for achieving the SDGs, including climate action. Even in cases of elevated debt, new borrowing can lead to improved creditworthiness if it finances productive investments. Debt relief can also free up resources, create conditions under which countries can return to voluntary market access, and may lower a country’s overall borrowing costs, with positive impacts across the whole economy. Call for action on liquidity, fresh financing and ODA The Secretary-General, in the new UN policy brief, calls on governments to provide fresh concessional financing for developing countries, especially LDCs and SIDS, recapitalize multilateral development banks and accelerate the timetable for replenishing the funds, meet ODA commitments and provide long-term financing to developing countries for investment in long-term growth and development. In support of recent endorsements from the G7, the brief also calls for a new general allocation of special drawing rights (SDRs) reiterating the need to combine a voluntary reallocation of SDRs from developed to developing countries. And the brief calls on G20 to extend the World Bank’s Debt Suspension Initiative (DSSI) until the end of June 2022 and include middle-income countries, notably small island developing states that have been gravely affected by the crisis. The policy brief also calls on the G20 to extend the eligibility to debt relief under the Common Framework for Debt Treatment Beyond the DSSI to other vulnerable countries on a case-by-case basis; and consider other mechanisms that would allow countries to access the Common Framework without creating a stigma or compromising the credit rating of the beneficiaries, including funds and other instruments within existing institutions. Finally, the brief calls on countries and the international financial institutions to seize the moment to address long-standing weaknesses in the international debt architecture. Participants at the High-level meeting Moderated by BBC news anchor Laura Trevelyan, the meeting of Heads of State and Government will feature opening remarks by the UN Secretary-General and Prime Ministers Trudeau and Holness. It will also feature Heads of State and Government and include participation by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank Group President David Malpass, OECD Secretary-General Ángel Gurría and WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. [END] About the High-level meeting The high-level meeting will be webcast at: http://webtv.un.org/ The full list of speakers will be posted on the High-Level Event website, which can be found at: https://www.un.org/en/coronavirus/financing-development. An embargoed copy of the Secretary-General’s Policy Brief can be found here. Media contacts United Nations: Dan Shepard, UN Department of Global Communications, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: +1 646 675 3286 Canada: Office of the Prime Minister, PMO Media Relations, email: email@example.com Jamaica: Kimberley McLeod and Naomi Francis, Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, email: Kimberley.firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
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23 September 2021
27 September 2021
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