Foreign Minister Shahid has called on the G20 of nations to extend its debt service suspension initiative until the end of 2021.

He called for the extension in his speech to the 75th UNGA.

Minister Shahid said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the toll that debt burdens have on the economies of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like the Maldives is clearer now.

He said that the Maldives appreciates the G20’s debt service suspension initiative but that there is little difference between 31st December and 1st January, apart from the change in a year.

He noted that the economies will still be in recovery, and hurting and requested the G20 to extend their initiative until the end of 2021.

Minister Shahid highlighted that debt suspension is only half the story for SIDS.

He said these nations need structural change, innovative facilities, and better and greater access to concessional financing.

He noted that these states needed a proper assessment of their vulnerabilities that will shape the way for better-targeted approaches in SIDS.

In his speech at the UNGA, Foreign Minister Shahid also pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world many lessons and that the asymmetries in the international system have been laid bare like never before. He noted that these include the unevenness of the impacts, the digital divide, the deep shocks due to disruptions in supply chains, and that no country has been spared from the deep impacts.

But he noted that not every country has been affected in equal measure and that in countries like the Maldives where tourism contributions both directly and indirectly account for 75% of GDP, the loss has been immeasurable.