Pak PM calls for universal access to vaccines, financial support to combat COVID-19

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Islamabad, Jul 13 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday demanded universal access to coronavirus vaccines and financial support by the rich nations to help the world fully recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He made a keynote address to the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

“First, universal and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccine is essential to defeat the virus and to revive global trade, investment and growth,” Khan said, adding that the world must ramp up vaccine production, including in developing countries, and ensure its rapid distribution.

He said adequate finance must be mobilised to enable the developing countries to meet the triple challenge of COVID recovery, SDG implementation and realisation of environmental goals.

“There are synergies in these 3 challenges which should be utilised to ‘build back better’,” he said during his virtual address.

Khan said the high-income countries injected USD 17 trillion to stimulate their economies, while the developing countries needed at least USD 4.3 trillion to recover from the crises and implement the SDGs.

Khan had made a proposal last September for the creation of a new IMF Special Drawing Rights as an effective way to generate development financing and welcomed the agreement to create USD 650 billion in new SDRs.

He also hoped that at least USD 150 billion will be re-allocated to finance sustainable development projects and programmes in developing countries through the IMF, the World Bank, and other development banks and institutions.

He also said that the commitment made by developed countries to provide USD 100 billion per year in climate finance should be fulfilled.

Khan said investment in sustainable infrastructure – which impacts 92 per cent of the SDGs – must be a central part of development strategies and the UN should initiate a multi-stakeholder dialogue to mobilise USD 1 trillion investment required annually in sustainable infrastructure.

He also demanded that the structural and systemic deficiencies of the international financial and trade architecture be addressed comprehensively and urgently. PTI SH MRJ AKJ MRJ

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