UN body calls for action on debt amid pandemic

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UN body calls for action on debt amid pandemic

Wednesday, 03 June 2020 | AP | United Nations

UN body calls for action on debt amid pandemic

The president of the UN Economic and Social Council is calling for urgent action to help the growing number of countries already facing or at risk of debt distress because of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Norway's UN Ambassador Mona Juul, head of the 54-nation UN body, told a meeting Tuesday on financing for the coronavirus crisis and recovery that the decision by the world's 20 major economic powers to freeze debt service payments for the world's poorest countries through the end of the year isn't enough.

She said the Group of 20's suspension will free about 11 billion until the end of the year, but it's estimated that eligible countries have an additional 20 billion in multilateral and commercial debt combined coming due this year.

Juul said that means even if the moratorium is extended to 2021, many countries will have to make difficult choices between servicing their debt, fighting the pandemic, and investing in recovery. 

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