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Port Vila, VANUATU – September 29, 2020: 9:35am (RNZ PACIFIC): Vanuatu’s prime minister has added his voice to calls for debt forgiveness for developing nations.

Like other world leaders speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Bob Loughman sent his speech in a pre-recorded video.

A pre-recorded speech by Vanuatu prime minister Bob Loughman plays via video at the UN General Assembly’s 75th session. Photo: UN News

He stressed the need for the international community to work together to overcome the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic.

“Covid-19 has resulted in mounting debts in countries that can least afford to service them. It is essential that the multi-lateral financial institutions provide debt forgiveness and relief. This should be accompanied with tailored, concessional finance packages and grants.”

Bob Loughman said these measures should ensure developing countries can weather the current crisis and finance the implementation of sustainable development priorities.

“I acknowledge that some great work has already gone ahead in this area, however I believe more needs to be done,” he said.

Loughman also told the Assembly that climate financing needed to increase.

He cited the devastation caused this year in Vanuatu by yet another category five tropical cyclone as an example of the challenge facing his country due to climate change.

Earlier this month, a call by Palau and other Pacific for debt forgiveness was discussed at the Asian Development Bank’s 53rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors online.

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