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DSG/SM/1428
1 July 2020

Deputy Secretary-General, Citing Proposals from Women Leaders’ Round Table, Says Trade, Debt Relief in COVID-19 Era Should Prioritize Low‑Emissions, Resilient Economy

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed’s closing remarks to the round table on “Rebirthing the Global Economy to Deliver Sustainable Development:  Insights from Women Leaders”, in New York today:

I thank you all for this rich and insightful discussion.  You have risen to the challenge that the Secretary‑General set for us at the beginning — to answer difficult questions with bold and creative answers.  We have received concrete and tangible solutions to tackle issues of debt, external finance and international trade in the COVID-19 era.

First, we are facing long-term catastrophic consequences if we continue doing what we are now.  There are more than enough financial resources going around, but we need new conditionalities towards sustainability and creating value in the real economy.

Second, debt relief should be linked to commitments to recover better, incentivize industrial transformation and invest in health, education and skills and jobs for a sustainable, low‑emissions and resilient future.

Third, trade needs to serve producing countries.  Global value chains should be longer in producing countries.  Intermediaries are not adding value.  Digitalization can play a crucial role to facilitate that.  Let us not repeat the same defunct theories that let the poor and vulnerable drown.

These proposals will be explored by the discussion groups that are already pulling together a menu of policy options.  Led by Member States and supported by United Nations agencies and other entities, their work will be considered by Ministers of Finance and Heads of Government in September.

Ahead of that high-level meeting, we will convene our next round table.  Today we have online and listening with us a number of young women economists.  We will be inviting some of them to take over the next round table and to focus on what we have heard from young people are the priority areas of climate, inclusive jobs and the digital economy.  I ask all of you to mark your calendars to join us on 3 September for the second in this series.

Together, building on your ideas today and what we will hear in the next round tables, I am confident that we are crafting the solutions we need to build back a stronger, more resilient, more equal, inclusive and sustainable world as we overcome the COVID-19 crisis and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Thank you for your participation.

For information media. Not an official record.