The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that 54 countries, accounting for more than half of the world’s poorest people, now need immediate debt relief to avoid even more extreme poverty while giving them a chance of dealing with climate change.
According to the findings of a new report published on Tuesday, the likelihood of a worsening outlook is high.
Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator, urged a string of measures, including writing off debt, offering wider relief to greater numbers of countries and even adding special clauses to bond contracts to provide breathing space during crises.
The warning comes as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank hold meetings in Washington this week amid rising global recession worries and a crop of debt crises from Sri Lanka and Pakistan to Chad, Ethiopia and Zambia.
The UNDP’s report also called for a recalibration of the G20-led Common Framework – the plan designed to help countries pushed into financial trouble by the pandemic to restructure debt.
Only Chad, Ethiopia and Zambia have used it so far.