New York

22 May 2020

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks during the background briefing on the High-Level Event on Financing for Development [as delivered]

Without rapid and decisive action, the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and social crises it has caused will undermine any prospects of achieving the SDGs by 2030.

Financing on an unprecedented scale, of at least 10 percent of global GDP, must be at the core of our response. Countries must have the financial means to fight the pandemic, and to invest in recovery. 

It is clear, that many developing countries, including middle-income countries, currently do not. And without global cooperation and support, we will be ushering in a period of protracted crises and a painfully slow global recovery. 

To facilitate progress, the Secretary-General will convene together with the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica a High-Level Event next Thursday, 28 May. 

They are expected to be joined by more than 12 Heads of States and Governments from all world regions. 

Also joining are the heads of major international financial organizations and key actors central to this work, including the World Bank, OECD and IMF, the Institute of International Finance and UN organisations, to discuss concrete solutions to the most pressing issues. 

They include six main provisions:  

First, the urgent need for global liquidity to maintain financial stability.
 
Second, the need for to address debt vulnerabilities.

Third, creating space for private sector creditors to engage proactively to avoid a disorderly wave of defaults. 

Fourth, inclusive growth and creating jobs. And lowering the transaction costs of remittances. 

Fifth, expanding fiscal space and preventing illicit financial flows.  

Sixth, sustainable and inclusive recovery aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.
 
Right now capital flight from developing countries is happening at unprecedented speed and scale. 

The ability to import vital medical goods and fight the pandemic is at risk, while existing IMF resources may not suffice to cover all needs. 

Another major concern is sovereign debt. The G-20 moratorium on debt service payments is a critical and very welcome initiative. It will gain us time, but it is only a first step. 

Other sources of external finance have also dried up. Direct investment, exports and remittances are all dropping sharply. 

At the same time, illicit outflows continue to drain countries of vital resources. Criminals may be taking advantage of the current situation. 

Finally, in this moment of crisis we must not lose sight of our long-term priorities. 

We must recover better. We have an opportunity to rethink our economic and financial systems, and to rebuild them with sustainability as a core consideration. 

The High-Level Meeting will address these challenges and will launch a collaborative effort that brings together the international community to identify concrete proposals by the time of the High-level Political Forum in July. 

Thank you.