“The ESCWA initiative is a win-win strategy for all stakeholders involved” – Issandr Amrani
According to the report, ESCWA will help member states come to an agreement with their creditors about how to put scheduled payments for debt service into local investments that will last.
Creditors who are ready to meet their own commitments to climate and sustainable development goals financing in MENA are more likely to do so if the focus is on strong project monitoring and evaluation.
Report further elaborated, the initiative is further strengthened by the role of ESCWA’s Advisory Committee, which is made up of experts with experience implementing debt swaps and providing economic policy advice on inclusive growth in other parts of the world.
Heavily indebted MENA countries have pressing financing needs to address climate adaptation and sustainable development goals while struggling to recover from the fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic and repercussions of the war in Ukraine, including growing food insecurity.
Because they are middle-income countries, they can't get debt relief and have a hard time getting the money they need.
Furthermore, the report mentioned that the combined public debt burden of Arab countries was $1.5 trillion, equivalent to about 54 percent of the region’s GDP in 2021. In addition, the Arab region continues to suffer disproportionately from climate change, and 90 percent of the population resides in water-scarce countries. Conflicts in the region have devastated institutions and infrastructure, and some 66 million people in Arab countries affected by conflict are dependent on humanitarian aid.
"The ESCWA initiative is a win-win strategy for all stakeholders involved," said Issandr Amrani, executive director of Open Society—Middle East and North Africa.
"As a multilateral institution with a commitment to human rights and civil society engagements, ESCWA provides a new opportunity for civil society to engage with governments on borrowing, spending, and development priorities. Open Society is committed to backing innovative projects that can help deliver economic justice", Issandr Amrani added.