UN chief slams rich countries' treatment of poor states

World

Published: 2023-03-05 10:58

Last Updated: 2024-06-20 12:01


UN chief slams rich countries' treatment of poor states
UN chief slams rich countries' treatment of poor states

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Saturday slammed the world's rich countries and energy giants for throttling poor nations with "predatory" interest rates and crippling fuel prices.

Speaking in the Qatari capital, Doha, Guterres told leaders of more than 40 of the most deprived states that wealthy nations should provide USD 500 billion a year to help others "trapped in vicious cycles" that block efforts to boost economies and vital services.

The summit of Least Developed Countries (LDC) is normally held every 10 years but has twice been delayed since 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Afghanistan and Myanmar, two of the poorest countries, are not present at the Doha meeting of 46 LDC states because their governments are not recognised by UN members.

No leader from any of the world's major economies attended.

At a leaders' summit ahead of the start of the general LDC conference Sunday, Guterres hit out straight away at the way poor nations are treated by the more powerful.

"Economic development is challenging when countries are starved for resources, drowning in debt, and still struggling with the historic injustice of an unequal COVID-19 response," he said.

The LDCs have complained that they did not get a fair share of the Covid vaccines that went mainly to Europe and North America.

"Combatting climate catastrophe that you did nothing to cause is challenging when the cost of capital is sky-high" and the financial help received "is a drop in the bucket", said Guterres.

"Fossil fuel giants are raking in huge profits, while millions in your countries cannot put food on the table."

Guterres said the poorest nations were being left behind in the "digital revolution" and the Russia-Ukraine war had fuelled their food and fuel prices.