United Nations General Assembly Focuses on Debt, Development, Environment and Pandemic Preparedness

Presidents, prime ministers and world leaders are at the New York United Nations headquarters for the annual UN General Assembly meetings. Leaders during meetings are focused on global debt, aid, pandemic preparedness, environmental protections and the 2030 Sustainable Goals (SDGs).

“In 2015 the international community won a historic agreement on goals to lift countries out of poverty and protect our planet,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. “We knew that the developing countries would need trillions of dollars to achieve development goals. Unfortunately the money that we need is nowhere in sight."

Ahead of the 2030 deadline to meet the SDGs, only 12% of the targets are on track, the UN reported earlier this year. 

"Debt relief remains on the United Nations agenda as a way to fund development and win the Sustainable Development Goals," noted LeCompte who serves on United Nations expert groups.

In December, the G20, the IMF and the World Bank initiated a Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable that brings together a limited number of stakeholders to bridge disagreements in implementing a debt restructuring process that the G20 created three years ago. Only four countries applied to the G20 process so far and Chad is the only country to reach conclusion of the process.

"G20 efforts are important because debt relief is a way to help countries get out of crisis,” stated LeCompte. "Beyond getting countries out of crisis, debt relief can be used to support countries achieve sustainable development."

The roundtable meets on the sidelines of the October IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings in Marrakesh. Its last meeting, earlier in September, focused on domestic debt restructuring issues.