Story at a glance
- U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called for more investment in less-developed economies.
- He warns that these countries stand to battle severe weather patterns from climate change and financial difficulties.
- The wealthiest individuals benefited most from the pandemic, with roughly $5 trillion in estimated profits.
Following President Biden’s meeting with global leaders last week, the United Nations (U.N.) issued a statement on Friday emphasizing the dire economic straits less-developed countries face as the rest of the world works to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing a dwindling amount of foreign investment, the U.N. says less developed economies are sinking deeper into debt. U.N. officials say that these financial disparities will be further exacerbated by the effects of climate change, which can affect poorer countries the most.
“The least developed countries are in the front line of climate change,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres wrote. “I reiterate my call on developed nations, as well as international financial institutions and national development banks, to urgently allocate 50 per cent of total climate finance to adaptation and resilience.”
These remarks came at the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council meeting, which focus on underdeveloped countries and their economic growth.
Guterres acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic must be stopped — mainly through the use of COVAX, the U.N.’s global vaccine distribution program — but also called for new financial milestones to better support undeveloped economies.
Some of these targets include an allocation of $650 billion for the Special Drawing Rights fund in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a source of financial assistance for member countries.
Guterres also called for a goal of $100 billion in financing related to alleviating the effects of climate change prior to the global COP26 event.
To help fund this endeavor, he called on U.N. member countries to issue a wealth tax on people of businesses who profited during the pandemic. In his statement he further cites reports of a $5 trillion profit among the world’s wealthiest individuals during 2020.
Meanwhile, roughly 120 million people have been relegated to “extreme poverty.”
“We must strengthen the domestic resource mobilization of least developed countries and close international tax loopholes,” Guterres added. “We must...ensure that long-term private international capital flows promote sustainable, risk-informed, resilient and inclusive economies.”
Doing so would mean incentivizing investment in less developed countries, Guterres said.
COP26 will be held from Nov. 1 to Nov. 12.