It is clear that the Corona crisis is hitting the Least Developed Countries particularly hard.
Not only is human health seriously affected, but the social and economic impacts for the LDCs could potentially be devastating unless we act now.
We all know that the LDCs are particularly vulnerable to disasters and shocks.
Now is the time for global solidarity. For bold and committed multilateral cooperation and support.
I will limit my comments to two issues that I see as crucial, debt relief and access to funding.
Norway has a proud tradition of advocating debt relief for countries who need it the most.
We are a small creditor, but we speak up.
Norway strongly supports the joint Paris Club/G20 2020 debt moratorium.
The decision to make all the 76 IDA countries eligible was certainly the right one.
Although, we would have preferred a full one year standstill, and did argue to this effect. Nevertheless, if- and when- needed we will certainly support an extension into 2021.
Should bolder action also become necessary down the road, you can count on our support.
When it comes to access to funding, I would like to draw your attention to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi Partner Trust Fund, which Norway spearheaded. The Fund fills a gap by focusing on mitigating the socio-economic impacts of the crisis, and helping countries recover better. Which may be useful for many LDC countries.
Indeed I’m happy to see that Malawi (LDCs Chair) will be one of the first countries to receive funds from the disbursement planned tomorrow.
Finally, as President of ECOSOC, I can assure you that we continue to have the LDCs on top of our agenda.
We are organizing a Financing for Development Forum informal meeting on 2 June, to discuss concrete financing solutions in response to the pandemic, which will surely feature the special situation of LDCs.
And, this year’s HLPF will also have a strong focus on the LDCs.
Please be assured that throughout the challenges that lie ahead, the LDCs will have our full support.