UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned what he called the strangulation of the world’s rich nations and major energy companies from poor countries at greedy interest rates and high fuel prices.
Speaking at the opening of the fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC) in Doha on Sunday, Guterres said that the least developed countries need massive investments in industry, calling on partners to achieve the Doha Agenda and its goals.
In his speech, Guterres called on developed countries to support the least developed countries to face the effects of climate change, saying, “The time has come to end false promises and to place the least developed countries at the center of our concerns.”
Wealthy countries should give $500 billion a year to help the countries he described as trapped in vicious circles that are hampering their efforts to strengthen their economies and improve health and education, Guterres said.
“Our global financial system was designed by rich countries, to benefit them greatly,” he added.
Guterres noted that poorer countries had been abandoned in the shadow of the “digital revolution,” while the war in Ukraine had raised food and fuel prices.
The UN Secretary-General denounced the way wealthier countries have treated those poor, saying that “economic development becomes difficult when countries are short of resources and drowning in debt, while they continue to suffer from historical inequity and an unequal response to COVID-19.”
For his part, the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, said that there is a shared global responsibility in facing the challenges of food security, climate change and the energy crisis, stressing the moral responsibility of rich and developed countries to contribute to helping the LDC.
He stressed that the food security crisis cannot be resolved through emergency humanitarian assistance and temporary treatments only, stressing that the food security crisis cannot be resolved in light of wars.
Sheik Tamim announced Qatar’s financial contribution of $60 million, of which $10 million is allocated to support the implementation of the Doha Work Program (DWP) activities in favor of LDCs, and $50 million to support the expected results of the Doha Work Program and build resilience in LDCs.
The DWP proposals envisage the establishment of a system to help countries facing hunger crises in the face of drought and rising prices.
The plan also calls for efforts to help the least developed countries attract external financing and lower interest rates to mitigate the repercussions of their debt.
The conference for 46 of the world’s least developed countries is normally held every 10 years, but has been postponed twice since 2021 because of the Coronavirus pandemic.