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UN chief calls for using more tools to help world recover from COVID-19



United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. [Photo/Xinhua]

UNITED NATIONS - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called on the international community to use more tools, including considering a new issuance of Special Drawing Rights, to help the world, especially poor countries, to recover from the destruction of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have the tools to enhance global liquidity; I urge you to use them, and especially to consider a new issuance of Special Drawing Rights," the UN chief said at the virtual High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond.

Speaking about sovereign debt, the secretary-general said that the economic fallout from the pandemic threatens to cause "a wave of defaults" in developing countries.

"Widespread debt crises will set back the response to COVID-19 and impede sustainable development for many years to come. The countries affected would have no prospect of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals," he said.

The UN chief noted that "alleviating crushing debt cannot be limited to the least developed countries."

"It must be extended to all developing and middle-income countries that request forbearance as they lose access to financial markets," he added.

"We urgently need durable solutions on debt, to create space for investments in recovery and the Sustainable Development Goals," said Guterres.

Noting that the pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of mankind, he said that "despite all the technological and scientific advances of recent decades, we are in an unprecedented human crisis, because of a microscopic virus."

"We need to respond with unity and solidarity. A key aspect of solidarity is financial support," said the UN chief.

Convened by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, and the UN chief, the virtual event aims to advance concrete solutions to the development emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.